Yeah, we’re a driving school – but our overall message is safety. So here are some safety tips for teens…and the parents who worry about them.
1. Make sure someone always knows where you are.
Nowadays with cell phones there’s no excuse. Text or call someone (preferably a parent or adult) and let them know where you’ll be and at least a general timeframe of when you’ll be home. If you change locations, notify them again.
Always leave home with a fully charged cell phone!
Parents: A good rule for your teenager is to have them tell you where they will be, and notify you if they change locations. Also be sure you have the phone numbers of at least one of your kids’ friends and their parents.
2. Make sure you always have a way home.
This may take a bit of planning ahead, kids, but it’s worth it. You don’t want to get stuck somewhere without a way home, and you certainly don’t want to be forced to ride with someone you don’t know or trust. If you don’t have a license yet, have a licensed driver such as your parent or a friend’s parent get you home.
Always carry some extra cash with you to get you home in a taxi if need be.
Parents: A good rule is that your teenager may not ride with anyone without your prior approval. Let your kids know that no matter what happens, you’ll always be happy to pick them up – even if they haven’t been behaving in a way you would approve of. You’d rather them get home safely and deal with the behavior later than have something catastrophic happen.
Give your kids some extra cash to put in a secret spot in their wallet in case of an emergency.
3. When out at night, always have someone with you.
This applies to all teens, but especially girls. Sketchy people are sketchy no matter what time of day it is, but nighttime often invites trouble. Travel with a friend or adult, and don’t get stuck in a situation where you’ll be alone. It’s not cowardly, it’s just good sense.
If you’re meeting up with friends and they haven’t arrived yet, stay in your car (doors locked, engine running) or hang out in a very public, populated, and well-lit area.
If you are walking around at night, be aware of your surroundings. Take note of any strange people that feel suspicious. Try to remain in public, well-lit areas. Your body language is KEY – walk confidently, like you know where you’re going, head held high. Predators prey on the weak. Give off an air of “don’t mess with me” and you may ward off an unwanted approach.
Always have your keys in hand before leaving an establishment at night to walk to your car. Don’t walk alone if possible – even if you just walk out at the same time as other people walking to their cars.
Parents: While driving alone may be better for teens than having passengers because of the potential for distraction, a good rule is to have your kid text or call you when they get to where they are going and have met up with their friends.
4. DON’T mind your manners.
What we mean here is, trust your gut. You don’t have to be polite to someone who gives you the creeps – even if they are asking you for help. Follow your intuition on people. If someone truly needs help, they can find it from someone else – or you can offer to call the police on their behalf…after you leave. Be leery of anyone asking a young person for help, unless they are clearly in an emergency. Even then, be cautious and call the authorities with the situation and your location right away.
Parents: Encourage your kids to follow their intuition. They don’t have to like, trust, or be friends with everyone – even YOUR friends. If someone gives them the creeps or just doesn’t seem right to them, let them know you trust their intuition and allow them to make that decision for themselves. Then, if an actually dangerous situation arises, they will be more likely to act on their intuition.
There will be more of these safety tips to come, so stay tuned! In the meantime, use good sense and be safe! Parents, communicate with your kids!