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Teen drivers can benefit from automotive tips provided by parents

Many parents in Connecticut probably dread the day that their teenager reaches driving age. They know that young drivers throughout the nation are involved in a large percentage of fatal car crashes and that many of these are caused by negligence. They want to keep their children safe when they are on the road, but feel helpless because they cannot be with them at all times. There are valuable lessons that parents can pass on to their children in order to help make them better drivers and increase their awareness about the car they are driving and about road safety in general.

Parents should take some time to familiarize their children with all of the controls and gauges in a car. They should have them sit in the driver's seat and explain exactly what each gauge means and when the gauges indicate a problem. They should also remind them to use their seatbelt and help them adjust it for a proper fit. The proper use of a seatbelt is imperative because according to the National Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 60 percent of 16-20 year olds who were involved in a fatal car accident were not using their seatbelts when the accident occurred.

A very important next step for parents is to teach their children all of the basic driving techniques. This begins with coordinating how to use the brakes and transmission shifter when starting the car, putting the car in gear when the car is running and stopping the vehicle by properly applying the brake. It also includes the proper hand position on the steering wheel and how to properly drive in reverse.

Learning to drive in traffic is a critical skill to develop for all young drivers and parents can play a vital part in passing on this ability. Begin by taking the teenage driver out on some local roads where there is some traffic, but not an extreme number of vehicles such as on a highway. The top speed to travel at on these roads should be no more than 35 miles per hour and there should be different types of intersections, including those with stop signs and traffic lights.

Source: www.ct.gov/dmv/cwp, "How parents can help their teens become safe drivers", Accessed May 11, 2015

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