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Parents: Set good examples for teen drivers

Whether it is because of the distracted driving epidemic or inexperience behind the wheel, teen drivers are some of the most vulnerable on North Carolina roads.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that car accidents are the top cause of injury and death for teens across the country. These statistics might worry parents. However, parents must understand that they have a significant influence on their teen's safety behind the wheel.

Parents must make their rules for teens clear

Parents should set specific rules for their teen driver, such as:

  • Forbidding cellphone use behind the wheel;
  • Limiting the number of passengers allowed in the car; and
  • Setting a curfew to prevent teens from driving at night.

Driving is a privilege, not a right. So, parents should also ensure their teen understands that there will be consequences if they do not follow these rules.

And while these rules are important to keep teen drivers safe, parents must remember the old adage: actions speak louder than words.

When parents drive safely, teens will too

Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the CDC agree that a parent's behavior behind the wheel can have a huge impact on how teens drive. Therefore, parents must take great care when they drive to set a good example for their teens.

Parents should always remember to:

  • Drive defensively;
  • Follow all traffic safety laws;
  • Avoid speeding; and
  • Buckle up.

Practicing safe driving can help increase the chances that teens will drive safely as well, which can significantly reduce their chance of being involved in a serious accident.

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