Parents are the key to teen driver safety. The more involved parents are in their teens' driving life, the safer these teens will be on the road. In recognition of Teen Driver Safety Week, which starts Sunday, AAA Oklahoma urges parents to:
Be role models. Our children pick up more from how we act than we know. Kids typically subconsciously mimic the driving behaviors of their parents.
Set rules. Oklahoma has a pretty good teen graduated driver licensing law. It sets limits on where novice drivers can drive, at what hours and with how many passengers. But conscientious parents will take these rules to the next level by imposing guidelines on cellphone use while driving, texting, use of seat belts, highway driving and alcohol.
Stay involved. Communication between teen and parent is vital. Ask your kids where they're going, who they'll be with, what roads they'll be on and when they'll be back. When they return, ask them about their driving experiences. How was it? Any problems? Did you encounter any unusual driving scenarios? Talk it out.
Parents not only have the answers, they are the answer to reducing teen drivers' risk on the road. For help, visit www.TeenDriving.AAA.com.
Chuck Mai, Oklahoma City
Mai is vice president of public affairs for AAA Oklahoma.