A recent study released by researchers found that parents have a blind spot when it comes to their teen’s sexuality. That is, most parents are in deep denial about their teen’s activities, claiming that while other teens may be sexually active, their own children would never do that sort of thing. It would be interesting if researchers did some studies about the blind spots parents have when it comes to their teens’ driving. Researcher might reveal that parents might also be in denial about:
1) Teen driving ability. Driving ability among young drivers varies widely. While no one wants to think of their teen as a bad driver, the fact is that even after passing state licensing training and testing, some teen drivers are timid or distracted on the roads, making them a danger. The good news is that if parents notice poor driving skills early, extra training can quickly and easily help resolve the problem. Even additional practice can help make teens stronger drivers.
2) Teen susceptibility to peer pressure. Even when teens know the rules, friends may pressure them to bend or break the rules. In a car, this can be dangerous. Peer pressure can encourage a teen driver to text while driving, to drink and drive, or to speed and race – all dangerous activities that can easily lead to an accident, even if they don’t become habits. Parents who suspect that their teen is susceptible to peer pressure should have a “no friends or passengers in the car” rule in place for teen drivers.
3) Bad teen driving habits. Bad driving habits get created early. A teen can even learn bad habits from friends, driving instructors, or parents. However, following too closely, texting while driving, and other bad habits can easily cause an accident. The more a young driver indulges in bad habits, the higher the car collision risk. If you notice your teen driver developing bad habits, it may be time for additional training. If caught early, bad habits are easy to break.
4) Teen speeding. Some young drivers speed because of peer pressure while others simply do not see anything wrong with going fast. Other teens get into trouble because they have not learned to keep an eye on the odometer. In any event, young drivers may not have the defensive driving skills to avoid a collision while speeding. Worse, it can be hard for parents to tell if their teens frequently exceed posted speed limits – in most cases, speeding leaves no clues until it causes an accident.
5) Teen drinking. Most parents do not want to believe that their teens drink – and teens go to great lengths to hide their underage drinking. However, statistics show that teens drink heavily. According to statistics gathered by We Don’t Serve Teens: A National Campaign to Prevent Underage Drinking, 24% of high school seniors and 16% of sophomores report binge drinking. The U.S. Surgeon General reports that about 5,000 children under the age of 21 die annually due to underage drinking. According to FirstEagle.com, 70% of all teenaged children drink alcohol and about 60% of teen car accident fatalities are related to alcohol consumption. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, three out of four high school students admit to drinking alcohol and nearly three million Americans between the ages of 12 and 20 have an alcohol problem. The reality is that teens do drink – parents need to have a “call anytime, no questions asked” policy in place to ensure that teens do not get behind the wheel after drinking.