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Is your teen a safe driver?

If you're like most parents in Pennsylvania and across the country, watching your teenage son or daughter get his or her driver's license and climb behind the wheel of a car can be a moment filled with mixed emotions.

On the one hand, you may be proud and a bit relieved to see your son or daughter take another step toward adulthood. However, you may also be nervous for his or her safety. Although you may not want to be that parent who constantly worries or harangues their kids about staying safe, the statistics show that your fears are not misplaced.

What can I do to help keep my teen driver safe?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and numerous other sources, teen drivers are far more likely than adult drivers to be involved in car accidents. Furthermore, auto accidents are the leading cause of teen deaths throughout the United States.

Although the stats paint a pretty bleak picture, there's plenty you can do as a parent to help protect your teen when he or she starts driving. Of course, you can't eliminate all the potential risks, but by applying some of the following suggestions, you and your teen can have an open dialog about smart and safe driving:

  • Practice makes perfect (or better): A lack of experience is a big reason why so many teens get into accidents. Driving is new to them and they need to practice. Take some time to work with your kids as they learn to drive. Offer instruction and help them build confidence.
  • Get your kids all the instruction you can: Whether your teen takes a driving course through his or her school or you enroll your teen in a private driving school, the more instruction your teen has the better.
  • Limit passengers: One of the biggest distractions to teen drivers is passengers in the vehicle. You may want to put limits on the number of passengers your teen is allowed to have in the car.
  • Texting and talking on the phone: Another significant distraction is talking on the phone or texting while driving. You've likely heard plenty about this already (and so has your teen), but it's important to emphasize the dangers of texting while driving.
  • Set some rules: By having an open, honest conversation with your teen about your expectations for responsible driving, you can lay down some rules. Perhaps you can agree to some consequences for breaking the rules and some added privileges for safe driving.
  • Hold your teen accountable: Along with setting some rules, don't waver on your enforcement of the guidelines you established. If your teen makes a mistake, hold up your end of the agreement while also adding some positive instructions. Kids make mistakes, and as a parent, you can help them better learn from those mistakes.

Hire an attorney who understands how to handle cases involving teen drivers

If your teen as been involved in a car accident, it's important to contact an attorney who can help you understand your options. At Shollenberger Januzzi & Wolfe, LLP, we will provide you with the resources and representation your family needs.

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