Every parent worries about their child’s safety, especially when earn their driver’s license. One of the top concerns for parents is drunk driving, and for good reason. Did you know that the number one killer of teens is alcohol-related car crashes?
There are plenty of other factors involved from texting and driving to not wearing a seatbelt, but the possibility of your teen driving drunk is all too real. Instead of letting anxiety get the better of you, check out these five prevention tips to help keep your teen safe.
- Set Boundaries
Defining your expectations is a proven way to thwart the temptation to drink and drive. Parents who establish clearly defined rules, aren’t afraid to say no, and monitor their teens’ leaving decrease the risk of driving under the influence. When it comes to alcohol, this is one time where you can be a strict parent and not feel guilty about it.
- Create a Contract
Sometimes, words simply aren’t enough. DUI defense attorneys recommend you set your expectations in writing on top of your verbal commands. The contract should clearly state that either driving drunk or being the passenger when someone else is under the influence means your teen will lose their driving privileges.
To enforce the pact, make it a rule that your teen can keep their license if they call for a ride instead. This removes the fear of you being angry at them when their friends are the ones making bad decisions, keeping the door for conversation open in the future. Chances are, your teen will think twice before engaging in risky behavior.
- The Bonds of Parenthood
No parent wants to believe that their teen is attending a party where drugs or alcohol are readily available. Yet, news stories of adults supplying both to underage teens make the headlines across the country. The answer here is simple. You should know who your teen’s friends are, know their parents, and have conversations with their parents about any concerns.
- Let Them Know You’re There, Secretly
Given the choice, you would probably rather have your teen call for a ride instead of being required to take a field sobriety test. The thing is, most teens would rather risk a DUI than have their friends know they called their parents for help.
Experts recommend creating a secret code for these instances, such as texting “1-2-3” or saying they feel sick. At the same time, teens with secret codes rarely use them when their parents discipline them afterward. You need to let your teen know that you do not approve of drinking but would rather them make the right choice in a risky situation by reinforcing their good decision.
- Under Lock and Key
Gaining access to alcohol is easier than you might think. The top two places teens get their supply from is a liquor cabinet in their house or at a friend’s house. You can know if their friend’s parents have a readily available supply by following tip number three, but you need to do your part as well.
Lock up your liquor and ensure that they cannot get the key. Make sure to count your bottles and the amount of alcohol still in them, as well. Even with a lock, you might be surprised at how resilient and intelligent kids can be.