Five Tips That Can Save Your Teens Life This Driving Season

For many teens, longer and warmer days on the horizon signal an important summer — the first of which they’ll be able to enjoy behind the wheel of an automobile. But it’s also a dangerous time: the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is coined as the 101 deadliest days on the road.

“Teens are more susceptible to traffic accidents in the summer more than any time of year, because they spend so much more time on the road,” says Charles Powell, producer and creator of Passing the Written DMV Test, a DVD that translates the information found in the Department of Motor Vehicles handbook into an easy, entertaining 40-minute program. “The risk is greater among those teens who just got their driver’s license.”

Powell suggests parents take a ride with teens and go over defensive driving strategies that can safeguard their teens. Among the five most important tactics include:

Look a few blocks ahead – By looking farther ahead, you can detect and avoid dangerous situations before or as they happen, such as a car coming to an abrupt stop or a child running into traffic.

Look for a way out – Always have an exit strategy in mind. Having one can help you to react to dangerous situations quickly and safely.

Keep your distance – the rule of thumb is that you should leave a 3-second gap between you and the car in front of you. Roughly, that translates into 1 car distance for every 10 miles an hour driven.

Signal your intentions – Whether you are making a right or left turn or changing lanes, always signal where you intend to go. This alerts other drivers in advance and allows them to keep their distance, even if you don’t see them (for example, an on-coming vehicle as you are making a left turn).

Look, then back up – Among the leading cause of accidents is backing up into something or someone. Powell recommends taking a stroll around your vehicle before entering it. Doing so can help you avoid hitting objects that are in close range. Once you are in and ready to back up, check your rearview and side mirrors. Then physically turn your body to the rear and scan the surrounding area for any adults, kids or cars that are coming up behind you.

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