Family Magazine

Drinking and Driving, A Sad But Important Story

By Joanigeltman @joanigeltman
Ok scary and sad alert. This website is depressing, but then drinking and driving is depressing. There is a video on this young man's website that describes the effects of one bad decision…a night when he drank 2 beers didn't put on his seatbelt, had a serious accident with life long consequences. Luckily his two passengers walked away from the accident having worn their seat belts. This is a video you should watch with your teens, no matter how much grunting and groaning and eye-rolling you get. Any opportunity to plant seeds is an opportunity you should take.
Most teens think that a few beers is no big deal. Here is a guy to tell them differently.
Lets tackle the seatbelt issue. Observation will be your best evaluator of seat belt usage. Whenever your teen gets in the car, do you have to remind him/her to put on their seatbelt? If so, this is a sign they are not ready to drive alone. The first requirement is to see that your teen, un-reminded and automatically puts on their seatbelt as soon as they get into the car, either as the driver or as a passenger. Let them know that this most basic rule is a pre-requisite for taking out the family car. This includes paying attention to not only their seatbelt, but also any other passengers in the car including you and or their siblings that may be going along for the ride. To test their awareness of their passengers, every now and then, leave your buckle or your passenger's buckles undone. Has your teen done a quick glance around to all passengers before they start the car to assure seatbelt compliance. This is good practice. Let your pre-driving teen know that there is zero tolerance on this issue. And that until you sense that it is now second nature for them to buckle up as well being on top of their passenger's seatbelts, there will be no taking out the family car alone. This is an easy one, because either you have to keep reminding them or you don't, and if you don't than they are good to go!
Now the drinking and driving issues. The message you need to give your teen every single time they leave your house with friends should be "What is your safety plan?" It should become such a ritual and routine that your teen gives you her/his plan before you even get the words out. This safety plan should include what they will do if they have chosen to drive and even have one beer, or if they are being chauffered by a friend, what happens if that friend has even one beer? Have these plans prearranged. It could include emergency money that you give then before they leave every single night in case they need cab fare to be returned to you the same night if it isn't used. Another option is they leave the car where they party, call you, no matter what time and with no consequence for a ride home. Yes there is a mixed message here, but you are also teaching them survival skills for when they leave your nest.
PS. On a much lighter note, one of my followers has a wonderful blog. Enjoy!

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