Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Helping teen drivers:

5 tips for helping teenagers have a safer driving experience.
By Sue Evans
Date: June 04 2013
Tags: teenagers, cars,
Editor Rating:

Whenever I talk about texting and driving I tend to show my age. 

Unfortunately, teens are particularly vulnerable in the car. Motor vehicle accidents are the number one killer of teens between 16 and 19 years of age. The reason is established: teens die most often in cars in part because teenagers are more dangerous and inexperienced on the road but also because they more prone, compared to experienced drivers, to making mistakes while driving when distracted. 

Research suggests that almost half of teens who drive say they have texted while driving. What is particularly interesting (and potentially helpful) from the new data is that some groups of teens take more risks than others.

Here are five things I suggest parents can do to try to support teen drivers.

1.  Talk to teens about distractions during driving

Texting is one distraction but so is a mobile phone, friends, or chaos amidst the car. Teens who tend to engage in riskier behaviour tend to feel that those behaviours are not as risky as teens who don’t take risks. You can potentially change a teen’s understanding here. Discuss the risk of riding without a seat belt and riding with a driver who has been drinking along with distractions.

2.  Don’t just finger-wag

Explain that texting and driving involves three distractions

  • visual (eyes are averted)
  • manual (hands are preoccupied)
  • cognitive (thinking about something else).

Together it makes for a risky combination. Explain why.

3.  As an adult, practice what you preach

Can you honestly put up your hand and say you haven't used your mobile phone while driving? If so, take a bow. Unfortunately, I see too many mums and dads on the phone, generally feeling invincible in their 4WD and with kids in the front and back.

4.  Teach teens to put their phone in a bag/backpack in the backseat of the car

I always tell teens that nearly no-one can ignore the buzz and the beep of an arriving message. Make it impossible to get into a bad habit and keep the phone out of reach. Data finds that educational approaches are largely ineffective at reducing teen risky behaviour. We have to work to also have things like ongoing minimum legal drinking age and graduated drivers licensing systems in place.

5.  Have “house driving rules” and stick to the rules and consequences

There is evidence to support that household rules combined with parental involvement enforcing them can reduce risky teen driving behaviours and crashes.

Share This Tweet This Email To Friend
Recent Comments
0 Total Comments
Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

Post a Comment
* your email address will not appear

Please enter the word you see in the image below:33343

Your Comment has been posted
Related Articles
A proposal to introduce compulsory brake technologies in light vehicles…
Read more
The NSW Government has eased learner driver restrictions in response…
Read more
Almost the same number of people thinking of buying a…
Read more

Four Great Reasons to Train as an OB/GYN
Why specialize in women's health?


The Best Ways to Soothe Your Baby
Fussy baby? Try these tips!


Four Tips to Improve Your Sleep Environment for a More Relaxing Night
Sleep like a baby!


Top Four Ways to Make Your Home More Comfortable this Winter
Tips for when it gets chilly

Globber my too fix up cover

We Try: Globber My TOO Fix Up
A scooter that grows with your child

Throw a winning cricket pitch

3 Steps to a Winning Backyard Cricket Pitch
Ex-Adelaide Oval legend curator Les Burdett shares his tips for getting your backyard cricket pitch test match ready this summer

A bike that follows your kids life cycle - motherpedia - cover

A Bike That Follows Your Kids Life Cycle
Check out the Bunzi 2-in-1 gradual balance bike!

Img 1414 x1

Weekend Recipe: Barbecue Bananas
Surprise your guests at a summer BBQ with this no fuss-dessert that’s bursting with goodness from Australian Bananas.


Navman shows parents the…
FREE online seminar for parents on best practices for instructing a learner driver


Head to Thredbo for…
Don't miss the LEGO Friends Snow Festival!


Join LEGO Australia to…
Fans invited to celebrate May the 4th Be With You Day 2017 at Westfield Warringah


How to Plan a…
Five tips to making the most of the upcoming break