Each year, we often see between 12 000 and 15 000 deaths on South African roads. The sad reality is that many of these accidents involve young adults between the ages of 18 and 25. The even sadder reality is that a big part of these accidents are as a result of careless drunk driving.
This is worrying news for parents. At this point, we’re sure that you’re wondering what you can do. How do you ensure that your university-going child stays safe and sober behind the wheel?
Here are a few of our top tips.
Set a Good Example
This might seem like obvious advice. But you’d be surprised to find out how many parents think it’s alright to get behind the wheel after a few drinks. While they may not consider themselves to be ‘drunk’, they are undoubtedly over the legal limit.
This fact does not go unnoticed by your teens and young adults. ‘If my dad does it, it must be ok’. Be conscious of your own drinking habits. Children are likely to mirror them.
Talk about the Dangers
Every teenager knows that they’re not supposed to drink and drive. But how many of them know what the actual drunk driving fatality rates are? How many of them know what constitutes as ‘responsible drinking’ when getting behind the wheel? How many of them know what the legal limit is?
It’s important to educate your teens about these dangers. Make sure they have all the facts. This will help them make good, safe and responsible decisions. Especially, when they are away from home.
Put it into Writing
It may sound silly, but it may also save your child’s life one day! Download the free parent-teen driving agreement online here: https://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/pdf/Driving_Contract-a.pdf
You’re a lot more likely to stick to your word when you put a promise into writing, after all.
Provide Them with Alternatives
Teach your kids that there are a range of different alternatives. There’s plenty they can do to avoid getting behind the wheel when under the influence. Things like calling an Uber. Assigning a new ‘designated driver’ each time they go out with their group of friends.
They can even stick to clubs, pubs and restaurants that are within walking distance of their digz. Organising a ‘night in’ with their mates, could also be another fun option to consider.
Sometimes it helps if parents are willing to contribute a small portion to the cost of catching an Uber. It might tug on the purse strings a little, but you can be sure that the peace of mind will be well worth the extra cash!
Ultimately, there is little else that you can do other than to make sure that your teen is aware of the dangers. You’ve provided the tools necessary for them to stay safe and sober on the roads. You’ve given them your best and done your utmost to set a good example. Now it is up to them to model that and become responsible citizens themselves.