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At DriveitHOME, our goal is to make teen driver safety as simple as possible. With such busy lives, both parents and teens may find it difficult to prioritize safety, but we can’t let protecting our loved ones fall by the wayside. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to help keep your teen safe. One of the easiest is making sure they always buckle up.
Seat belt use has risen over the past several decades – to around 90% in recent years – yet teens are the group least likely to wear seat belts. Consequently, most teens killed in car crashes were not wearing seat belts.
Buckling up can’t be something that your teen constantly needs reminding of, it has to become second-nature. This is where you can help. We’ve talked before about the importance of setting the example and always buckling up yourself. But another thing you can do is make wearing a seat belt a part of your teen’s driving habits.
To get started, make it a regular routine to talk through the steps of safe driving. From the moment you open the car doors, say them out loud with your teen, from putting on the seat belt, checking the mirrors, starting the car and shifting into gear.
As experienced drivers, we sometimes take for granted how obvious these steps are but teens haven’t had the practice to turn these actions into muscle-memory. The more you walk through this process with your teen, the faster it will become a habit.
Part of this process should also include your teen checking to make sure you are buckled up. Though your teen shouldn’t drive any passengers besides a parent for at least six months after getting a license, they’ll need to be prepared to handle this responsibility eventually. In fact, the best lesson for your teen to learn is that whether they are a driver or a passenger, they should be vocal about everyone in the vehicle buckling up on every ride.
Make this a normal part of driving and always set the example yourself. The more time you spend showing your teen simple ways to protect themselves in the car, the safer they’ll be.
DriveitHOME™ is an initiative of the National Safety Council, designed by and for parents of newly licensed teen drivers. DriveitHOME™ offers free resources parents can use to help their teen build experience to become safer drivers.
The National Safety Council is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization.