As your teenager gets closer to driving age, you might be wondering what you can do to help keep them safe on the road.
While driving is relatively safe, car accidents still happen every day and can affect your child, too. Banning them from driving isn’t a smart solution, but looking for a car with extra safety features is.
There are countless new technologies available that can help keep your teen safe. Stereos now come with Bluetooth and some cars have automatic braking features.
Even if it isn’t feasible for you to purchase another car for them, you can still take action to help them stay safe on the road. We’ve outlined some helpful suggestions below to get you started.
Keep Them Off Their Phone
Above all else, your biggest priority should be on keeping your teen off of their phone.
This hasn’t always been an issue, but smartphones are incredibly prevalent today and serve as a major distraction while driving.
Because of this, you should do whatever it takes to make their driving experience hands free. GPS systems can be fairly inexpensive if powered via cigarette lighter power outlet. Do take advantage of a stereo system offering Bluetooth if they do need to take/make calls.
You can remind them to put their phone down all you want, but you can’t control what they do when they’re driving by themselves. What you can do is stress the importance of focusing on the road and making technology as hands-free as possible.
Collision Warning and Emergency Braking
Two features that more modern cars tend to have are frontal collision warning and emergency braking.
A focused and attentive driver should never need either of these functions, but even then they can still be helpful if any distractions do happen or if their reaction time isn’t quick enough.
Frontal collision warning involves the use of sensors to understand where a vehicle is concerning the car in front of it. If your car is getting too close, an audible or visible warning will be played to alert you to slow down.
As useful as this technology is, it becomes quite pointless if a driver does not quickly respond to it. In the scenario of texting and driving, your teen may be so wrapped up in writing their text that they don’t notice the collision warning in time to brake.
To make collision warning more effective, many models equipped with this technology also feature emergency braking. This combination is quite potent and is one of the best preventative safety mechanisms a car can feature.
As the name suggests, emergency braking will make a car automatically brake to avoid colliding with a car in front of it. In the age of heavily-distracted driving, this is almost an essential feature to keep teenagers safe.
Blind Spot Monitoring
Another useful safety feature includes blind-spot monitoring.
The classic way of approaching blind spots is to physically turn your head and look before changing lanes, but some drivers rely on their side mirrors.
To be clear, using your side mirrors to check your blindspot is a bad habit and will not keep you safe.
On the other hand, blind-spot monitoring systems are far more effective and will warn you when other cars are in your blind spot in either lane to the side of your car.
Blind spots will always be tricky, so it’s important to use this indicator as a backup rather than the primary method of checking a blindspot. Your teen should understand the importance of looking in addition to listening for warnings to keep them the safest.
Driver Safety Phone Apps
While smartphones are usually the problem when it comes to distracted driving, they can also be used as an effective tool to prevent it. This is done with the use of driver safety apps.
There are multiple different types of driving apps, but they all tend to function with one or two primary features.
The first allows you to monitor your teen’s driving habits, including if they ever get into an accident, speed, or need to brake hard. This will add some accountability to their driving and gives you peace of mind.
The other involves muting notifications while your child is driving. Some phone makers and service providers are planning to make this an automatic feature, but apps exist to provide this feature in the meantime.
Since smartphones tend to pose the biggest risk to teen drivers, finding a way to limit how impactful they are is the best way of keeping them safe.
With so much technology available in modern cars, there isn’t a good reason to let your teenager drive unsafely.
If you can afford the purchase of a well-kept, used modern car, then look for one that has collision warning, emergency braking, and blind-spot detection. These are effective safety mechanisms that provide alerts to bring a driver to attention.
Beyond this, your main focus should be on limiting smartphone use. Whether this includes the use of hands-free technologies or dedicated apps to monitor their driving and silence notifications, you can find an effective solution to keep them safe.
Technology should never be relied on to keep your teen safe, so don’t overlook the importance of educating them on good driving habits. This, in conjunction with safety features, creates the best environment for them to stay safe.
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