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Discussing Drinking and Driving with Teen Drivers

Tips to Help You Make the Most of this Important Conversation

Drinking and driving has cost the United States more lives than almost any other type of automobile accident. For parents, keeping their young drivers safe on the road is vitally important, but having difficult conversations about drinking as well as drinking and driving are sometimes not as effective as they could be. Although the media, children’s peers, and close family members send a message not to drink and drive, there are some additional ways you can send a powerful message to young drivers.

Set a Good Example

We have all heard the saying, “do as I say, not as I do.” While this is a very traditional parenting mantra, when it comes to drinking and driving, the saying should be “do as I say and do as I do.” Make sure you are setting the right example for young drivers by designating a sober driver or taking a taxi when going out for drinks with friends – being a consistent example of good behavior will have teens much more likely to do the right thing and not get behind the wheel themselves or with anyone else after drinking.

Build an Atmosphere of Trust

Teens are much more likely to keep dangerous secrets rather than reveal to their parents they have made behavioral mistakes. This can be especially dangerous if they are partaking in risky behaviors such as drinking and driving or allowing someone who has been drinking to drive them. Make sure to build an atmosphere in the home and in your relationship with your teen of trust and understanding – make sure that they understand that their safety is much more important to you than a broken rule.

Use Past Experiences

If you or your spouse have gotten into trouble or had issues with drinking and driving, telling your teen may be a good way for them to relate the possible dangers of this behavior. Do not gloss over your past mistakes, but use them as a good example of what your teens should not do. This goes back to the earlier point of building an atmosphere of trust – if you are willing to share your behavioral missteps, teens are more likely to share theirs and you can work together to correct the issues.

No parent wants to worry about their children drinking and driving and, although the conversation may be difficult to have, using these tips can help you have a talk with your teen driver that they will listen to, understand and internalize to help keep them safe on the road for years to come.

One way to help your teen understand the rules of the road is to have them take NJ Behind the Wheel Training with a licensed driving instructor. This not only provides expert driving instruction, but also another adult to reinforce the principles of safe driving. Training Wheels is one of the top driving schools in South Jersey and can help teach your teen driver how to drive safely. For more information about Training Wheels, please click here.

*Photo Courtesy of San Diego DUI Attorney via Creative Commons License