Most high schools have already begun the new school year. And whether your teen got their license over the summer or they have been driving for a little while now, it is essential to remind them of proper safety on the road.
Your teen will be driving during the early morning hours to get to school on time and driving through busy intersections and dealing with plenty of pedestrians. The situation can be stressful even for an adult driver. But for an inexperienced driver in this situation, the risks of being in an accident increase.
If your teen is driving alone, taking siblings, or bringing friends, here are some things to consider so that everyone stays safe for the new school year.
Life-Saving Tips for West Palm Beach Teen Drivers
Keep your student and other students safe by going over these essential tips with your teen:
Look for Pedestrians
While rushing off to school, your teen needs to be aware of the road and the increased numbers of pedestrians on that roadway. You will have children exiting buses or getting to the bus stop, kids walking to class, and students riding bicycles. More children are hit by cars next to their school than in any other location. Therefore, your teen needs to practice caution while driving through the school zone or near a bus pick-up site.
Teach them to look out for children, including younger children who might rush out into the street from between cars.
Ensure They Are Ready for the Road
The new school year means more drivers who recently got their driver’s license, bought a new car, and are now ready to get on the road. Inexperience is the main reason for teen automobile accidents. And according to the National Safety Council, teen car accidents increase in September during the new school year. They are also at their height during early morning hours just before class and in the afternoon when school gets out.
If your teen is not ready for the road, go out for more practice drives. Let them drive the car with you in the passenger seat to school for practice in unfamiliar zones until they feel confident enough to do it themselves.
Get Enough Sleep at Night
Teens are night owls, and they do not realize the importance of enough sleep each night. A teen is more likely to stay up late texting friends, playing video games, watching TV, or even studying. If their schedule keeps them up late at night, then they are only getting only a few hours of sleep before school. In this situation, they might engage in drowsy driving – a dangerous driving habit.
Driving while drowsy is like being intoxicated. Your teen needs a minimum of seven to eight hours each night to feel refreshed. Not only will it help keep them safe on the road, but it might even help improve their performance at school.
Also, keep an eye on your teen’s wake-up time. While no parent wants to be a nag, a teen waking up 10 minutes before school starts means they are more likely to speed through school zones in a rush to get to school on time – increasing the chances of a deadly accident.
Obey the Rules for School Buses
Make sure your teen driver knows that it is illegal to pass a school bus as it loads or unloads children. The traffic on both sides is legally required to stop until the bus has pulled away from the sidewalk.
Your teen should also be aware of the children coming off the bus or heading to the bus stop for a pickup in the morning. Kids might dart in and out of traffic while trying to get onto the bus on time.
Always Wear a Seatbelt
Even if the school is three blocks away, your teen should always wear a seatbelt. Teens tend to buckle up less than adults, and being involved in an accident without this essential safety device can lead to more traumatic injuries. It is well worth taking the two seconds needed to buckle up.
Avoid All Distractions While on the Road
Teach your teen to drive distraction-free. That includes not changing the radio station, talking to passengers, or even texting and driving. Using social media while driving should be prohibited. Anything that takes your driver’s eyes off the road is a distraction, and they need to be aware of the risks involved in engaging in this dangerous behavior.
Following the 10 Minute Rule
Your teen needs to be in the habit of leaving 10 minutes early. This will prevent them from rushing to school, speeding, tailgating, and weaving in an out of traffic – all practices that lead to severe accidents. By leaving 10 minutes earlier than they have to, your teen has the time they need to drive safely.
Obey School Zone Postings
In a school zone, your teen needs to reduce their driving speed to 20 miles per hour. Failing to do so might result in a serious fine. And if your teen were to cause an accident, the civil penalties are equally severe.
It is best to limit the number of passengers your teen driver has in their car. A teens’ risk of an accident increases with each passenger they take. While they might want to be the cool kid that hauls everyone to school in the morning, it is better not to allow them to have passengers (which are distractions) at all for the first six months to a year after receiving their driver’s license.
Was Your Teen Injured in an Accident?
While teens might have a higher risk of being in an accident, that accident might not always be their fault. If your teen was seriously injured in a car accident, they might be entitled to compensation for their injuries.