Message for young drivers: Don’t meet paramedics by accident

From Lakes Region EMS—

Learning to drive is a milestone in every teen’s life. It is a time of independence for both parent and teen as they can now begin driving themselves to and from various activities. It can also be a time of stress for parents, since a lack of experience can often lead to dangerous situations and potential accidents.

One way parents can encourage safe driving by teens is to set rules for when he or she is driving. He or she should know that these rules are in place for their safety as well as the safety of others on the road. The Paramedics and EMTs of Lakes Region EMS would like you to consider some suggested rules to set when your teen is beginning to drive:

No cell phone use.  Cell phones are more of a necessity than a luxury now, especially when on the road. They can literally be lifesavers if you get lost, run out of gas, or get in an accident.

However, they can also cause accidents if they are used improperly. Tell your teen she can only talk on the phone if they are using a hands-free device or if they pull the car over or park.  Consider using technology to assist with enforcing this rule. There are several services and applications that will prevent the phone from operating while the vehicle is in motion.  While it is already a state law, a no texting rule should be emphasized again.

Limit number of people.  One of the great things about having a teen who can drive is their new ability to take themselves places, like school or work or social activities. However, friends can be a distraction while driving. Set a limit to the number of people that can be in the car at a time and during what times of day.  This minimizes the potential for peer pressure to make bad choices.

Always wear a seatbelt.  This is a must for all drivers and passengers.  Again, this is already a state law, but emphasis should be placed on this being a priority.

Always obey speed limits.  Make sure your teen knows that the car he is driving can be deadly and it can be easy to get out of control if they drive too fast. Make sure they know to obey all speed limits.

Never drive impaired.  Be sure that your teen understands that if they should never drive as or ride with an impaired driver.  Make a clear understanding that you will always come to pick them up if they or someone they are riding with is impaired.  This doesn’t mean there won’t be consequences later, but that your priority is them staying safe.

Since you are not going to be in the car with your teen most of the time when she is driving, it can be difficult to enforce these rules. Some parents draw up an agreement and have their teen sign it. That may or may not work with your child.

Lakes Region EMS hopes you enjoy the new freedom you both have gained, but please be careful.  They don’t want to meet you by accident.

Lakes Region EMS is an integral part of the community and lives by the organization’s four pillars; Serving their customers with state of the art patient care, outstanding customer service, dedication to the communities they serve and financial health and responsibility. They responded to over 4000 emergencies including 271 Vehicle Crashes from stations in Chisago City, North Branch, and Rush City.

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