When our kids reach that magical age of sixteen, they will probably want to get their driver’s license. The thought of our babies out on the road, by themselves, controlling a hunk of metal that weighs thousands of pounds, can be downright terrifying.
Last night, a car driven by a teenager ended up upside down in a creek after skidding off of a rural road in Seabeck. Two teenagers, including the driver, managed to get out of the vehicle, but a 14-year-old passenger was not able to escape when water began to fill the car. Once he was finally extricated from the vehicle, he was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center, where he died from his injuries. It was not reported that alcohol was involved in the crash whatsoever.
As a parent, you can help ensure your teen is safe when behind the wheel, whether you are in the car with them or not. The Washington State Department of Licensing recommends that you:
• Know the intermediate license laws and share them with your teen, ensuring that they know and understand them as well.
• Supervise driving (yes, even once they have their license!)
• Establish driving rules and limits. Have consequences for unsafe driving.
• Talk with your teenage driver about drinking and driving as well as driving under any other influences.
• Set a good example. Be cautious in the way you drive, and always follow the law and speed limits yourself.
• Make sure your teen knows their vehicle and is comfortable driving it and using its features.
• Strongly discourage texting and driving, in addition to other distracted driving behaviors. Let them know the possible consequences! (Tickets, accidents, even fatalities)
These are just a few things you can take note of as the parent of a teenage driver. Remind your teen that driving is a privilege, not a right! A great amount of freedom comes with a driver’s license. Make sure your teen is equipped to handle that freedom.