Safety Tips For Teen Drivers Revving Up To Hit The Road

Prom didn’t happen for countless teenagers this year. Yet, their summer road trips and excursions give them plenty of opportunity to flex their newfound freedom behind the wheel.

Law enforcement officials and safety advocates urge parents to have open, honest dialogues about the “big three” dangers of teen driving: speeding, distractions and impairment.

Connecticut State Police suggest starting any conversation by letting your kids know how much you love them and want them to make it to their destinations safely. That becomes a starting point for making contingency plans if they happen to have a drink or if plans change when they are traveling.

Reinforcing your sincere interest can lead to other conversations such as being overly anxious behind the wheel.

“Tell them to wait a second before pulling into the intersection to ensure that other drivers are not running the light,” said Trooper First Class Kelly Grant of Connecticut State Police. “And always watch for oncoming drivers, as impaired drivers tend to drive toward lights.”

The Connecticut State Police offers some suggestions for safe teen travels for summer:

  • Before they leave on a road trip, make sure they share directions and locations.
  • Provide some driving curfews. Remind them to avoid being on the road late at night or early morning hours when bars have closed and patrons fill the streets.
  • Emphasize the importance of rest before driving. Drowsy driving has become a significant cause of accidents for all ages.
  • Remind them to drive defensively and beware of threats posed by other drivers. Don’t assume other drivers will stay in their lanes especially in late night.
  • Make sure they discuss driving itinerary and “rules of the road” with their friends. They have a much better probability of arriving at their destination safely when everyone in the vehicle agrees on driving guidelines--how late they will drive, how soon they plan to arrive and what happens in emergencies.
  • Talk honestly about responsible decision-making and standing up to peer pressure. For example, it’s OK for them to let other travelers know when they are uncomfortable with their behavior or driving etiquette.
  • Provide contact information for emergencies or for sharing any change of plans.