It’s a tough job keeping your teen safe—especially once your teen is behind the wheel. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the per-mile crash rates for teenagers are three times the rates of drivers 20 years old or older. With many dangers lurking both inside and outside of the car, what can a parent do to help keep their child safe?
There are many systems that can be installed directly into a vehicle to make it safer on the road and to prevent loss of life during a crash. Many cars now feature optional systems to help control features such as car top speed, stereo volume, and GPS location. Ford’s MyKey system, for example, can prevent a car stereo from functioning until all drivers have engaged their seat belts and offers hands-free cell phone control. Hyundai offers a similar system called Blue Link that automatically calls for help during a crash, and allows parents to set time and location restraints on a vehicle’s operation. If the car is operated during a particular time, exceeds a certain speed, or travels into areas designated as restricted, the Blue Link system sends an automated email, text message, or phone call to alert parents. The Blue Link feature comes standard on many cars including the Sonata, Veloster, and Sonata Hybrid.
Photo of Hyundai Blue Link System via Chapman Hyundai
Even if your teen is a cautious driver, accidents can still happen. Advances in airbag technology can help to keep teens safe, including seat cushion airbags that inflate below drivers in a crash, lifting the driver’s knees upward and aiding in seat belt function during a crash. Knee airbags are another method of insuring your teen’s safety during a crash. They not only help to insulate a driver’s legs and knees from damage in a crash, but also keep drivers from sliding under the dashboard in an accident.
Samaki Rewards is an app that claims to provide an incentive and reward system for safe driving. By using a smartphone’s accelerometer to tell when it is in a moving car, Samaki adds points in a driver’s account when a phone is left out of use while a vehicle is in motion. Similar applications, such as Canary, feature real time alerts when texting, talking, or social media use occurs while a “Canaried” phone is in motion.
Be an Example
The best way to encourage better driving in your teen is to show them that safe driving matters. According to Distraction.gov, 660,000 people in America are using cell phones or other electronic devices while driving at any given moment. Put down your phone when you drive, buckle up, and have a conversation with your teenagers about safe driving and the dangers of unsafe behavior. You can make an impact that can make the difference.
Photo by timo_w2s via Flickr