Help your teen driver avoid drinking and driving

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When your teen is just starting to drive, it’s important to go over the essentials with them. Proper driving habits and defensive driving strategies are important aspects to cover with a new driver.

However, it’s also important to have a plan for your teen in case they are ever in a situation they need to leave without driving. For instance, if he or she has been drinking. Here’s how to help your teen make positive choices around driving:

Give your teen a way out

Teenagers are still growing and their brains are still developing. That means they will make some questionable decisions. Alcohol use may be one of these decisions.

When your child gets their license, have a talk about making the right choices. It may be easier for them if you offer a no-questions-asked ride home. This can be something you offer periodically or a one-time offer. Giving them an alternative to driving drunk may prevent them from making that decision.

If your teen has concerns about going somewhere there may be alcohol, offer them the chance to have friends over at your house.

Make sure they understand the consequences

Don’t let your child minimize the potential consequences that stem from an underage DUI. Discuss how the decision to drink and drive will affect his or her future. Talk to them about the loss of license, the rising insurance rates and the potential for harm or death that comes with driving while intoxicated.

Make sure they understand the decision affects not only them but everyone else on the road. Drinking is already a bad decision for a teenager, but getting behind the wheel creates an even worse situation.

Set and enforce your rules

Remind your child that a driver’s license is a privilege and not a right. If they are not willing to take the responsibility seriously, consider suspending their right to use the car. Practice routine check-ins when your child is out with friends. Call or text them once and a while for updates.

A curfew may help keep your child off the road during dangerous times of night (after bar close, for example). If your teen misses his or her curfew several times, consider suspending their driving privileges. Don’t let them take driving responsibilities lightly.

Staying vigilant

Teenagers will make mistakes. That’s just part of growing up and learning. As a parent, you want to make sure their mistakes don’t follow them for the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, you can’t account for others on the road. If your teenager is injured in an accident with an intoxicated driver, a knowledgeable attorney can be a great resource.

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