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Keep your teen driver safe with these tips

Sunday Oct. 21 marks the start of Teen Driver Safety Week, serving as an important reminder for teens about driving's rules and responsibilities.

Like millennials before them, Gen Z endures a lot of trash talk from older generations that they don’t deserve. But, hey teenagers, when it comes to stereotypes about your driving, I’m sorry, you’re … just … not good.

To be fair, that’s been true for every generation before you, and it’s not entirely your fault. The simple fact that you’re inexperienced means you haven’t fine-tuned your skills behind the wheel.

Still, bottom line is: Car crashes remain the leading cause of death among U.S. teens. You’re three times more likely to die in a car crash than drivers 20 or older.

Other risk factors associated with teen drivers, are:

  • Driving with other teen passengers, dividing their attention
  • Nighttime driving — when your daytime driving is still not great
  • Distracted driving, the cause of some 10 percent of teen traffic deaths.
  • Drowsy driving, a particular problem for you straight-A, extracurricular-activity types with a lot going on
  • Speeding, cited in a third of teen driving fatalities
  • Impaired driving, cited in 16 percent of teen highway deaths
  • And not using seatbelts, cited in 58 percent of teen driving fatalities in 2016

OK, that last one? Is just dumb. Those who arguably need seatbelts most have the lowest use rate? PUT YOUR SEATBELT ON!

For parents, the federal highway-safety authorities recommend:

  • Starting the conversation early and often, before it’s time for them to get behind the wheel.
  • Setting ground rules about things like seatbelt use, stowing smartphones, speeding and other risk factors, and putting them in writing
  • And always setting a good example, as your teen is more likely to do as you do, not as you say

And look at it this way, Gen Z, if you clean up your act behind the wheel? That’ll give those lame older folks one less thing to talk smack about.