The month of May is the start of graduation ceremonies, celebrations, and other summer recreational activities. This is why May is also National Youth Traffic Safety Month to help keep our teen drivers safe.
As part of Hawaii driving laws, licensed teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 18 are already placed under certain restrictions while driving. Teens with a provisional driver’s license are restricted from driving late at night and are limited to a specific number of minor passengers that can be in their vehicle. Teens applying for their driver licenses are required to complete a state approved driver education course that includes driving and classroom work.
Parents or guardians are the best role models for their children. Make it a point to sit down with your teenager for a meaningful conversation on the topic, long before he or she asks for the keys and heads out the door. Establishing rules on safe driving and instilling responsible driving, along with leading by example are key elements.
Here are five driving tips for parents to discuss with their teens before they get behind the wheel:
Eyes on the road at all times
Distracted driving has quickly become the leading cause of accidents among young drivers, with the use of cell phones and texting now causing one in five motor vehicle accidents. Your teen driver should stay focused on the road by not using his or her phone until they reach their destination.
It’s a fact that seatbelts save lives, with studies showing your chances of surviving a car crash increasing by 45 percent when buckling up.
Set a curfew at night
Once they get their driver’s license, many teens want to flaunt their independence by going out at night with friends. Staying out late can lead to drowsy and inattentive driving, which could potentially lead to an accident. Have your teenager return home safely at a reasonable hour. According to state law, teen drivers between ages 16 and 18 are not allowed to drive between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. The only exception for night driving is a written excuse for driving to and from a place of employment or school-sanctioned event.
Don’t have your teen drive or ride with too many friends in one vehicle
Too many young passengers in one car can lead to a distracted teen driver and potential accidents. It can also lead to peer pressure behavior such as driving under the influence. Parents should be aware that Hawaii law restricts a teen driver with a provisional license from transporting more than one non-family passenger under the age of 18 unless they are accompanied by a licensed parent or guardian.
Positive, proactive approach to safe driving
We properly maintain our cars with periodic vehicle checks and tune-ups. Have your teen driver undergo a positive “attitude” check to help them understand the responsibilities of getting behind the wheel. This means sitting down with your child to discuss safe driving behavior and how to respond to emergency road situations.
And as a parent, make sure YOU are practicing safe, proper and courteous driving behavior to set the right example for your teen driver. This starts when your child is a youngster in the backseat observing how you drive!
For more traffic safety tips, go to the Drive Aloha website at www.drivealoha.com.