Teaching Teen Drivers to Drive Defensively
When teens reach an age where they are eligible to drive, it is the responsibility of their parents or legal guardians to protect them by teaching them to be safe drivers and defensive drivers. As with learning any new skill, the foundations gained during driving practice will carry with them into their adult driving abilities. This is why it is critical that parents teach teen drivers to drive defensively.
What is Defensive Driving?
Defensive driving is the practice of anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others. It goes beyond simply following the rules of the road and the basic mechanics of operating a motor vehicle. Defensive driving involves an increased awareness that reduces the risk of collisions and improves road safety for everyone on our roads and highways.
When a teen earns their driver’s license, it is every parent’s job to ensure their teen understands the importance of safe driving. It is also essential to stress the value of driving defensively. Begin by discussing the significance of knowing and obeying the rules of the road and being aware that other drivers will not always do the right thing. Teach your teen the importance of:
- Paying attention to the task of driving
- Watching out for other drivers
- Not expecting other drivers to do the right thing
Duty of Care
All licensed drivers have a duty of care when operating a motor vehicle. This duty pertains to other motorists and their passengers and bicyclists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. When the duty of care is breached and another party is injured due to negligence or reckless driving, the driver will be liable for damages. Defensive driving helps teens and their guardians practice their duty of care and keep roads safe for other drivers.
Setting a Good Example as a Defensive Driver
While parents and legal guardians must maintain an ongoing dialog with their teens about the importance of traffic safety, another effective method of teaching your teen about safe driving is to set a good example while you are behind the wheel. Be a good role model for your teen by:
- Knowing and obeying all traffic laws
- Driving defensively
- Maintaining a safe speed
- Focusing on the road
- Not being a distracted driver
- Staying alert
- Being a courteous driver
- Wearing your seatbelt
Modeling correct driving behavior to your teen driver can help instill the skills your teen needs to be a safe driver.
Tips to Keep Teens Safe on the Roadways
To help teens stay safe on the road, the UPS Road Code program at Boys & Girls Clubs educates teens on safe driving techniques and how to minimize distractions. This organization has posted some important tips online to ensure teen drivers know how to stay safe.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. When teens are learning to drive, they should practice driving for about six months with licensed adults. During that time, the goal should be to obtain from 30 to 50 hours of drive time on various roads, highways, and in different weather conditions.
- Be Especially Careful When Driving with Passengers. Having a car full of passengers can distract drivers of any age, but driving a car full of teen passengers can be especially challenging for young drivers. Help your teen understand that socializing while driving is a distraction, and distracted drivers cause collisions.
- Set a Curfew for Driving at Night. Consider having your inexperienced teen driver off the road by 9 or 10 p.m.
- Buckle Up. All drivers need to wear their seatbelts. Let your teen know that seatbelts are necessary on every trip, no matter how short distance. According to the CDC, seatbelts have reduced severe injuries and deaths in crashes by almost 50 percent.
- Put the Phone Down and Drive. The use of cell phones while driving is dangerous for all drivers, but especially teens. Have a discussion with your teen about the importance of making it a habit to put their phone in an unreachable place while driving. If they need to use the phone, encourage your teen to pull over to a safe place before accessing their phone.
- Beware of Driving While Fatigued. Driving while fatigued causes thousands of crashes each year. Before your teen get on the road, make sure they fully rested and alert before getting behind the wheel. If your teen feels drowsy, make sure they are aware of alternative plans for transportation.
- Smart Driving. Encourage your teen to drive safe and drive smart by obeying traffic laws, focusing on the road, being aware of other drivers, and adjusting their speed when visibility is limited or when weather conditions are severe.
- Never Drink and Drive. Even one drink can impair a teen’s ability to navigate a motor vehicle. Let your teen know that even one drink will increase their risk of being involved in a crash. Also, encourage your teen to refuse to ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
What to Do if Your Teen Driver is Injured in a Car Accident
Burg Simpson’s car accident injury lawyers represent clients who were injured by the negligence of another party. Even though teenagers are in their particular risk category for motor vehicle crashes, their inexperience does not necessarily mean they are always to blame. So, if your teen was injured in a collision that was not their fault, call the personal injury lawyers at Burg Simpson for help now.
Burg Simpson’s Personal Injury Team
Burg Simpson shareholder Stephen Burg has years of experience representing victims who have been injured in motor vehicles collisions caused by the negligence of another party. If your teen was injured in a collision that was not their fault, call Burg Simpson for help now at 888 895 2080.
About Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine
One of America’s foremost plaintiff trial firms, Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine, has a longstanding and nationwide reputation for fighting relentlessly and successfully for victims of negligence, malfeasance, malpractice, and abuse. Our award-winning attorneys have never hesitated to fight for our client’s rights and consistently face and defeat formidable adversaries that include big insurance companies, big banks, and big pharma. Burg Simpson has secured more than $2.7 billion in verdicts, settlements, and judgments in practice areas spanning catastrophic personal injury, mass tort and class actions regarding gas explosions, dangerous pharmaceutical drugs and devices, medical malpractice, complex commercial and business litigation, construction defects, and workers’ compensation. The firm’s success has also included more than 200 recoveries in excess of $1 million.
Burg Simpson was founded in 1976 by distinguished American trial lawyer Michael Burg. Mr. Burg is an inductee into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame and a recipient of the Clarence Darrow Award. Mr. Burg has also been recognized by Best Lawyers in America® and Super Lawyers®. Burg Simpson Eldredge Hersh & Jardine now has approximately 70 lawyers and over 90 legal professionals. The firm is based in Colorado and has offices in Arizona, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, California, and Wyoming.
Contact Burg Simpson for Help Now at 888 895 2080