While trudging through another year of school, one of the biggest highlights that helps motivate teenagers is the promise of a few days off during holiday breaks. These are the times when teenagers who drive are able to visit with friends, hang out at the mall, see a movie or even earn extra money at a job. Since holiday breaks from school don’t often allow for all parents to oversee the driving habits of a teenager, keeping the dialogue open about safe driving can be a parent’s best friend during these periods of academic down time.
Teenagers should understand the importance of driving without distraction. Loud music, friends, and the ubiquitous presence of a phone can all be easy ways for a teen to look away at just the wrong moment while driving. Parents should understand that their own driving behaviors are observed and many times emulated by a teenage driver. By reducing and eliminating distractions, both adult and teens are safer on the road. In addition, parents, if you suspect a teenager is driving, be mindful of the effect your own texting or calling could be having on him or her while the car is in motion. Offer solutions to the teenager on how to relay to you that he or she is driving and will call or text you back when the time is right.
Since underage drinking is still an issue in the lives of our teenagers, and there could be a lack of supervision during school breaks, discussing the importance of driving sober is imperative. Let your teenager know that you trust him or her, but, that with zero tolerance laws and the chance at an accident or injury related to driving while intoxicated, your job is to keep the safety talks open. Remember that your teenager wants to do the right thing, and by keeping those lines of communication open while allowing the freedom of a holiday break from school, the odds are that your child will remain safe, and sober, while driving.
Safe driving is an important issue for teenagers, whether they have been driving for weeks or years. As adults, we can even benefit from going over the basics of driving without distraction or the understanding that a DUI conviction can lead to an ignition interlock installation and so much more. Keep the holiday breaks fun and safe, and watch your teenager grow into an adult who understands that driving is an important lesson in their safety and that of others.