How do we keep our teens safe behind the wheel? Reed Sorenson's mom, Becky, has the answer.
With automobile accidents still the No. 1 cause of teen deaths, teen driving obviously remains a relevant topic of discussion for parents.
Becky Sorenson knows a thing or two about kids and driving. Her 23-year-old son, Reed, is a NASCAR driver, and has been racing since he was 6. (Yes, 6!)
Becky and Reed are working with Allstate to promote teen safety behind the wheel.
momlogic: Is it nerve-wracking being the mom of a NASCAR driver?
Becky: Reed's a really safe driver. We all worry to some degree, but I was never one of those moms who couldn't sleep until he got home at night. He's always had a clean driving record. I don't know that you ever let your guard down, though, as a mother. I still worry when he's out on the road.
ML: How did Reed get into racing?
Becky: His dad raced when he was little, so when he was old enough, maybe a year and a half, that's when he started going to the race track. He started paying attention at 3 or 4 years old, and soon started asking when he could race, too. He started racing quarter midgets at 6 years old.
ML: Even though he had experience, did you ever worry when he got his license for the first time?
Becky: Definitely. When they're with groups of kids in high school, you have no idea who is driving. That made me nervous.
ML: How can we educate our kids about driving safety?
Becky: Start talking about it at an early age. When you're in the car, you can say things like, "If that person came into my lane, what am I going to do?" Start young, so you have as much time as you can to teach them!
My kids went to a private school about 20 miles away, so we had a lot of car time together. It was a good learning experience. Moms should take advantage of that time in the car together. Your kids are there in a closed atmosphere, and there aren't a lot of distractions. You have their full attention. Take advantage of that.
ML: Anything else you would recommend to keep teens safe behind the wheel?
Becky: The Allstate Parent-Teen Driving contract is great. That way, they know where you stand. Teens like stability and rules. This way, the rules are on paper, and you can hang the contract up on your refrigerator and keep it visible in your home. This contract helps them know the consequences.
ML: Why is it so hard ... and so dangerous ... to be a teen driver these days?
Becky: Teens have so many more distractions than we ever did. They have texting and cell phones. There are so many obstacles to overcome to become a safe teen driver. Another big danger is having too many kids in the car at the same time. In Georgia, you can only have another family member in your car when you're driving for the first six months. I think that's a great idea. It would be very wise for parents to limit how many kids your teen can have in his or her car.
How do you keep your teen drivers safe? Comment below.