How to Protect your Teen from Drinking & Driving

Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of road accidents around the world. In the US alone, it’s estimated that 30 people die every day as from drunken driving-related accidents. This translates into 900 lives lost on a monthly basis or over 10,000 deaths caused by alcohol-impaired drivers.

With these staggering numbers, adventure seeking teens continue to be at the epicenter of this man-made disaster. Let’s be real for once, teens love to have a time of their life. We have seen videos circulating online with young lads engaging in street racing with zero protective gear. Knowing all too well that such a conduct is dangerous, why does this young lot continue to persistently indulge in this dangerous activity?

In this article, we are going to give you a few nuggets to prevent your teen from drinking and driving.

But first, what is drunk driving?

Commonly referred to as DUI, it’s the practice of operating a vehicle when the level of alcohol content in the bloodstream exceeds the legal limit stipulated by a statute. In this case, it’s supposedly the level at which the mental capacity of the driver is impaired.

Alcohol done in moderation is a great way to have fun and unwind. However, when taken to the extreme, it can totally cripple the driver’s ability to react or make important driving decisions such as steering, braking, and changing lanes.

Despite the stringent DUI charges, many drivers still find themselves crossing the red line. Below, we have compiled a few tips to prevent your kid from potentially hitting a jackpot of heavy fines, jail time or even losing the license.

Paint a Clear Picture of the Consequences

Peer pressure surrounding the younger generation is one of the reasons why these adrenaline-filled champs engage in drunk driving. However, irrespective of the amount of alcohol consumed, even an inconsequential amount can impair the driver’s ability to make crucial driving decisions.

As a parent to a hot-headed teen with an insatiable appetite for thrill and adventure, ensure you make it clear to them the consequences of drunk driving.  If they are borrowing your car, dictate to them that they aren’t allowed to drink and drive. Additionally, explain it to them that it’s illegal to indulge in such behavior and lay out the consequences they are likely to face once caught driving drunk.

You can also consider coming up with a mutual driving agreement clearly spelling out the rules and how they are enforced.

Be a Good Role Model

Teens will always emulate what the grownups do. As a parent, if you drink water and preach wine, it’s highly unlikely that your teen kid will listen to what you tell them.

You should always serve as a good example by being responsible while drinking in the company of your kids. While at home, always avoid excessive drinking whether alone or in the company of friends. Many parents will glorify alcohol in front of their kids not knowing they are negatively affecting their kids.

Involve your teens in doing some car work

This recommendation is directly related to the previous one. Teach your children how to clean and maintain a car. Try to do all the car work together. Go with them and buy a good portable air compressor for your car, tire jack, and other accessories for the car maintenance and repair. Make sure they buy something for the car for their pocket money.  They will value their work and love the car. They will think about the consequences of a drunken ride and whether it is worthwhile to drive in a drunken state.

Encourage Ride Sharing

Teens learning the ropes of independence can capitalize on every available opportunity. This rounded off with peer pressure doesn’t make the situation any much better. As a parent, it’s important to know whom your kid is interacting with especially in booze littered joints and parties.

If they are hanging out with friends, always encourage them to share a ride and have a delegated driver. Alternatively, you can arrange to pick them up for a ride home without any fear of reprisal. You can also make it a habit of rewarding them for being honest by allowing them to enjoy occasional binge days and treating them like adults they want to become.

Fool Proof them from Peer Pressure

As earlier indicated, peer pressure is among the major contributors of drunk driving. Have a candid gist with your teens on the possible problems they may encounter once caught involving in drunk driving. Enlighten them on how to overcome peer pressure or how to they can turn down a ride home from a friend who has hit the bottle once too many times. Make it known to them that you are always available once they are stranded irrespective of where and whom they are with.

Keep them Engaged in Extracurricular Activities

As a parent, you may be oblivious on the best way to keep your teen occupied during the weekend or summer holidays. The simple thought of them lounging around the house unsupervised can drive you into an anxiety fit. Since it is almost impossible to “zero graze” your teen kids at home, a great strategy would be arranging for extracurricular activities to engage in.

Look around your community and see what community activities or sports they can engage in and they will have minimal time thinking about hooking up with friends for a drink.

Help Develop and Implement Teenage Drinking Policies at School

Prevention is better than cure. Since most kids learn about drinking from friends at school, it’s good to nip the drinking behavior right at the bud. Get engaged in their school activities and policies geared towards getting rid of underage drinking. Talk to the school guidance counselors and help them formulate guidance blueprints. Research has shown that students who openly talk about the dangers of alcohol have a high chance of avoiding it altogether.

Lock your Liquor Cabinet

This should come as the last resort as you don’t want to paint a picture of mistrust towards you teen kid. With that said, irrespective of the trust levels you have with your teen kid, it’s your personal responsibility to ensure that alcoholic drinks aren’t easily accessible to them. You will be surprised as to how gullible they are to raiding your alcohol cabinet when you aren’t around. Always attend to your alcoholic drinks by locking them away and take the keys with you.

Parting Thoughts

Despite your best efforts, teens can result in getting behind the wheel no matter how drunk they are. After all, they are “wise” decision makers after drinking. As a parent, the key lies in ensuring you are on top of things before the unthinkable happens. With the above tips, you should have a solid place to start from in ensuring the next call isn’t coming from a penitentiary notifying you of an incarcerated teen due to drunk driving.

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