Most teen parents will tell you that it can be difficult to get a point across to a teenager—particularly if that point concerns his or her safety or well-being.
When it comes to safe teen driving, you can present every teen driving fact to your child that you like. You can talk about the cost of teen car insurance, or even require your child to pay that insurance. At the end of the day, however, your teen will have to make the decision to be safe on the road on his or her own account.
So what’s a parent of a teen driver to do?
All of the teen driving tips in the world haven’t seemed to be enough to get your child to truly understand the great responsibility he or she has behind the wheel—the power and the seriousness.
Well, it’s helpful to know that the teens of today are incredibly visual creatures.
Using Video and Media to Encourage Safe Teen Driving
When we say video, we aren’t talking about bland, boring Driver’s Ed tutorials. We aren’t talking about public service announcements from the early 1960s. We aren’t talking about crash test videos. We aren’t even talking about Hollywood’s finest stunt driving and CG car crash scenes. We’re talking about real footage from real accidents and their aftermath.
Society in general has become so desensitized to the reality of danger and violence. News, movies, video games, and other forms of media are constantly delivering graphic images of horrors that would have made most people sick just half a century ago. But, we have become so accustomed to it that, while disturbing on some level, we no longer connect with just how horrendous it all really is.
Teens in particular cannot be expected to practice safe teen driving when all they’ve ever seen from the movies is ridiculous car crashes that the characters walked away from with just a scratch or two. Unfortunately, sometimes it really does take the shock factor to break through years of desensitization.
Knowing Your Boundaries
We aren’t suggesting that you get on YouTube and bring up the goriest, most disturbing teen accident videos that you can possibly find. However, seeing what can happen when you are careless with a vehicle, particularly when it happens to someone of your child’s own age, can speak volumes above even the most gruesome of teen driving facts that you verbally share with your child.
If you are concerned about exposing your child to graphic material, look for videos or pictures of accident scenes after the victims have been removed. A crushed car with a school picture of the teen that was driving it, along with a narration of what happened to that teen and why, can have a tremendous impact on your child.
Explain that you aren’t sharing this with your child in order to scare him or her into safe teen driving, but that you do think that it’s important that he or she have a thorough understanding of exactly what is possible when you are careless behind the wheel. Be there for your teen if he or she has questions, concerns, or simply wants to talk about what he or she saw.