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What to tell your teen before they drive

Published On: Feb 02 2012 03:18:57 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 10 2014 09:45:34 AM CST
teen driving car

iStock / sonyae

By Katrina Vogelgesang, Staff Writer


Before your teen gets on the road, here are the most important things he or she needs to know before getting behind the wheel.

When driving, it’s important for a teen to know that unless permitted, there is no OK time to talk on the phone. Texting is illegal for anyone at any age while driving. If you must talk on the phone, and it is not against the law at your location, then make sure to use a hands-free device, such as Bluetooth. Many times, states require you to be a certain age before you are permitted to use a cell phone while driving.

Explain to your teen that if they are pulled over by a police officer, the side of the road is not the place to argue a ticket. Tickets are to be argued in court. Also, teens should never make any sudden movements, because the officer can take this as a threat. Keep hands where they are visible to the officer and be polite.

Make sure teens know that in the event of an accident, one should never try to hide or run from the accident. Always contact the police to report an accident. It is best to pull off to the side of the road, turn on hazard lights, and exchange insurance information. If possible, take pictures of the cars involved in the accident with a cell phone camera. Stress to your teen that they should never try to blame or accuse other drivers.

Stress to teens that road rage is never worth it. Even when angered on the road, do not retaliate. The best option is to ignore. Explain to teens that if necessary, it’s OK to change your route, or arrive slightly late to an event, in order to avoid road rage.

Lastly, it’s most important to explain to teens that it is NEVER okay to drive drunk, or get in a car with a drunk driver. Even if it means calling parents or a taxi, nothing is worth risking a life over.

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