How to help your teen avoid drunk drivers on the road

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Earning a driver’s license is a big step toward freedom for many teenagers, and it is only natural that as a parent you might worry about your teen driver. After all, your teenager will always be your child, even as he or she grows up and becomes more independent. While this is a time in your teenager’s life when he or she may want to revel in newfound independence, teens may not yet be experienced enough to understand how to avoid some of the risks associated with driving a vehicle.

In 2017, over 1,000 people died and even more were injured in Texas crashes that involved drunk drivers, according to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). Because of the prevalence of drunk drivers, it is important to talk to your teen to help him or her avoid being in a car crash with one.

Instruct your teen to avoid drinking and driving

One of the best ways for your teen to avoid getting into any accident is to avoid drinking and driving. While a teenager consuming any alcohol is illegal, even a small amount can cause some loss of judgement, which can impact your teen’s ability to drive safely and avoid others who are driving unsafely. Although your teen should not be drinking at all, it is still important he or she is aware of safe alternatives to driving drunk, such as calling an adult for a ride or taking public transportation.

Encourage your teen to promote safe behaviors with friends

Friends are incredibly important to teenagers, and they tend to travel in groups. Remind your teenager that it is unsafe to allow passengers to distract him or her while driving and encourage your teen to avoid distracting friends when they are driving. Your teen can encourage safe behaviors from friends who are riding as passengers and can encourage friends to avoid drinking and driving.

Remind your teen to avoid driving at high-risk times

According to TxDOT, most alcohol-related crashes in 2017 occurred late at night, early in the morning or on weekends. It can be beneficial to remind your teen to avoid driving at high-risk times when possible. If your teen must drive at a high-risk time, remind him or her to remain especially vigilant for drunk drivers.

Help your teen recognize the signs of drunk drivers

Helping your teen recognize the signs of an intoxicated driver can go a long way toward preventing potential accidents. Some indicators you can tell your teen to watch for, include:

  • Weaving or drifting out of traffic lanes
  • Driving more than 10 miles under the speed limit
  • Turning abruptly
  • Rapid acceleration or deceleration
  • Tailgating
  • Slow response to traffic signs or signals

If your teen sees a driver exhibiting any of the above behaviors or otherwise driving erratically, your teen should be sure to give the driver plenty of room. If there is a safe place for your teen to pull over to call the police, that may also be appropriate.

Accidents involving drunk drivers can have devastating effects. That is why it is important for parents to talk with their teenagers to help prepare them to avoid drunk drivers who may be on the road. If your teen is injured because of the actions of a drunk driver, a lawsuit may be appropriate.

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