Talk with your teens about safe driving and seasonal road hazards

This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens aged 15 to 18 years old. -New drivers hit the road every day, and while it can be an exciting time for teenagers, it can be very dangerous and worrisome for parents.

Sgt. Ted Bohner with the Indiana State Police says it's important for parents to talk with their teens before they get behind the wheel.

“Don’t assume things,but sit down and talk about following the rules of the road and some of the dangers that can be presented," said Bohner.

Talk to your teen driver about speeding, nearly one-third of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were speeding.

Distracted driving is also another big problem. Ten percent of fatal crashes involved distracted driving. And it's not just phones; passengers can also be a distraction to new drivers.

And finally, many parents may not want to believe their child may drive impaired, but it is important to talk about impaired driving. 1 out of 5 teen drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking alcohol.

Like many things, actions speak louder than words. Set an example for the future driver.

“Our kids, even if they’re not teens," said Bohner. "If we’re driving, they’re watching what we do. So, it’s very important to set that good example, follow the rules of the road, being a courteous driver and not being an aggressive driver.”

It's also a time in which there are seasonal hazards. It’s important to get your car ready for the snow season with emergency kits and snow tires, however there are additional hazards out there as we await that first significant snowfall of the season.

As the beautiful fall leaves cascade from the trees, it can make for the perfect fall scenery but can make driving a headache as wet leaves can impact your vehicle’s traction.

We’re also approaching rut season for deer. In a recent report, Indiana is ranked number 14 for animal collision claims and Michigan sits at number two. Deer are most active from dusk through dawn. When you see a deer on the road and you cannot stop in time, the safest thing to do might sound counterintuitive.

“Sometimes the best thing that you can do instead of trying to swerve around that deer--that’s when a bad or worse crash can happen," said Bohner. "The best thing you can is actually hit the deer. If you can brake in a straight line, that’s fine, as long as there’s no one directly behind you cause you don’t want to get into a worse crash than you would have had of just hitting the deer.”

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