Worldwide, road traffic accidents are the biggest killer of young people. It’s a terrifying fact for parents. But what about when your youngster is the one behind the wheel of a car? A shocking two out of ten newly qualified drivers will crash their car within six months of passing their test. Those aged 17 – 24 account for 30 per cent of people who are killed in cars every year.
The news is full of proposals and suggestions being considered in order to try and combat the high accident rate our young people face – everything from curfews for new drivers, to restricting the numbers of passengers they carry. But what can you do right now, as a parent, to keep your child safe?
Kim Stanton, from Young Driver, has this advice:
- Longer learning - In the UK we don’t require any minimum period of learning before someone can qualify for a licence. Other countries have much stricter rules and require a period of staggered learning. Make sure your child learns for as long as is physically possible before they take to the road alone.
- Start young – You can’t drive on a public road until you’re 17. But there are ways of helping youngsters start their learning experience way before that. Young Driver offers driving lessons for 11-17 year olds on private property, set out like a real road system. The younger you start, the more open their attitude is to learning (think back to when you were 17…)
- Practice makes perfect – Try, try and then try again. Once they have their provisional licence get out on the road with them in between lessons as much as you can.
- Talk about it – Ask someone they trust to have an open and honest chat with them about the responsibilities of driving. They possibly won’t listen to you, but would they listen to an aunt, uncle or grandparent?
- Be smart – Help them to study for their Theory Test. Check they understand what they’re reading and that they’re not just cramming in order to pass.
Kim Stanton is from Young Driver www.youngdriver.eu
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