Talk to Your Teen About the "5 to Drive"
The "5 to Drive" campaign highlights the five necessary rules that teen drivers need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel. These rules address the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, texting, seat belts, speeding, and extra passengers.
You've guided your teen this far. Driving is a new chapter, a step toward independence for many teens. But your job's not done. Surveys show that teens whose parents impose driving restrictions typically engage in less risky driving and are involved in fewer crashes. They can't listen if you don't talk.
- Get the facts about teen driving and share some of the grim statistics with your teen.
- Know your State's graduated driver licensing (GDL) restrictions and enforce them.
- Remind your teen that driving is a privilege, not a right, and should be taken seriously.
- Set the Rules Before They Hit the Road.
Remember the "5 to Drive":
- No Drinking and Driving.
Set a good example by not driving after drinking. Remind your teen that drinking before the age of 21 is illegal, and alcohol and driving should never mix no matter your age.
- Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back.
Lead by example. If you wear your seat belt every time you're in the car, your teen is more likely to follow suit. Remind your teen that it's important to buckle up on every trip, no matter how far or how fast.
- Put It Down. One Text or Call Could Wreck It All.
Remind your teen about the dangers of texting or dialing while driving, and that the phone is off-limits when they are on the road. It's equally important to model safe driving habits for your teen – you shouldn't text and drive either.
- Stop Speeding Before It Stops You.
Drive the speed limit and require your teen to do the same. Explain that every time your speed doubles, your stopping distance quadruples.
- No More Than One Passenger at Any Time.
With each passenger in the vehicle, your teen's risk of a fatal crash goes up. Check your State's GDL law before your teen takes to the road; it may prohibit any passengers.
Parents Remember – Keep Talking About the "5 TO DRIVE"
- Start the conversation with your teen, but continue the conversation every day.
- Even if it seems like they're tuning you out, keep telling them. They're listening, and these powerful messages will get through.
- Get creative! Talking is just one way to discuss safe driving. You can write your teen a letter, leave sticky notes in the car, or use social media to get your message across.
- Get it in writing. Create a parent-teen driving contract that outlines the rules and consequences for your teen driver. Hang the signed contract in a visible place.
For more information about the "5 to Drive" campaign, please visit http://www.safercar.gov/parents/TeenDriving/teendriving.htm.