LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The next National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) takes place on October 20-26, 2013. This year's theme is ‘It Takes Two: Shared Expectations for Teens and Parents for Driving.’ Whether you’re still practice driving or driving on your own, you and a parent (or other trusted adult) should work together to help you become a safe skilled driver. You should expect and advocate for support in driving from a trusted adult. Here are some tips to get you started: Advocate for 65+ hours of supervised driving practice. To make it easy, keep a driving log and follow a driving lesson timeline to ensure that your parent provides you with lots of varied practice while learning to drive and careful monitoring for the first year after licensure. To be successful, it's crucial to create the right learning environment. Know what you don’t know. A recent CHOP study found that 75 percent of serious teen crashes were due to a critical teen driver error, with three common errors accounting for nearly half of all serious crashes: driving too fast for road conditions, being distracted, and failing to detect a hazard. Make sure your parent teaches you critical driving skills. Try to accept constructive criticism and ask your parent to teach you the following skills to prevent the three common errors that lead to teen crashes: speed management – This includes always following the speed limit, as well as knowing when to adjust your speed in congested zones and residential areas, during inclement weather, and on poorly lit roads. Recognizing and avoiding distractions – This means limiting the number of peer passengers, having a no cell phone or electronic device rule, and lowering radio volume. scanning for hazards – This involves observing the surroundings far ahead of the vehicle and side-to-side so that you have sufficient warning to react and avoid a potential crash. Develop house rules for your first year of independent driving. Learn how. The law is designed to "gradually" ease an inexperienced young person into their driving career. They are licensed to drive, but with some restrictions--- for their protection while they gain some experience. (The 1st yr is highest yr for accidents for new drivers). GDL law for "Intermediate licensed" drivers (16 & 17 year old minors). No cell phone use while driving. Only 1 non-familial teen passenger allowed. Late night curfew (to reduce joy riding). Seatbelts must be worn by all passengers. A study in 2012 showed a 52% reduction in single vehicle teen driver fatalities, and 59% reduction overall in fatalities with teen drivers. Nearly all teen crashes are due to operator error. So that means we just need to learn to make better choices! One key is having more teens to get personally involved and being good models to our peers; speaking up when we need to!! A. Obey the law; B. Always wear your Seat Belts!, and C. Don't drive distracted. (Many stop /reduce talking when teen gets license---MISTAKE---the next 6 months are the most dangerous in the teen's life!).
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