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3 steps parents can take to protect their teenage drivers

Many Seattle-area parents cannot wait for the day their children to become licensed drivers. Excitement often overshadows the concerns parents should about their teens' safety behind the wheel. Driving is not just a rite of passage for teens. It is also a leading reason why so many of them do not reach adulthood. 

It is important for teenagers to make good decisions, especially when they are in the driver's seat. Their training should not stop once they complete driver's education. Parents should continue their children's learning by providing guidance and encouragement. Here are a few pointers for parents who are not sure what they can do to protect their teen drivers

Impairment can be fatal 

Discourage the use of alcohol, drugs and other substances that can cause impairment. Remind teens of how alcohol and drug impairment affect the body and what the consequences of drinking and driving are. Parents should also discuss transportation alternatives and solutions their teens should take if they do consume alcohol. 

Distractions are not cool 

Many movies and television shows make driving while distracted safe and cool. Unfortunately, kids growing up watching their parents and guardians doing the same things reinforces these beliefs. Parents should evaluate their personal driving habits and take corrective actions where necessary. They should also show their teens the proper way to drive and manage their vehicles without distractions. 

Experience matters 

Teen drivers are new to the roads. They do not have the driving experience much older motorists have. Many accident-causing hazards are not in textbooks and instructional materials. The dangers also change and are not necessarily predictable. However, the more time teens spend on the roads, experiencing the constantly changing conditions, the better they will become at avoiding them and accidents, making them safer drivers. 

Car accidents do not always kill. Many teenage motor vehicle accident victims suffer severe and crippling injuries that rob them of their once-promising futures. Ongoing parental guidance is necessary to help more teens make it to adulthood and beyond.

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