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"Share, Not Scare": Teaching Teens How to be Safer on the Roads

That's the theme of the sixth annual National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW) which starts next week on October 14th and runs through the 20th. In honor of the annual push to help make teens more aware of the dangers on the road and learn to drive safer, we will be posting a series of blogs over the next two weeks that discuss different aspects of teen driving and provide thoughts on what everyone can do to make the roads safer.

Most of the public service announcements and commercials that have been released in the last year on distracted driving have a certain shock value tied to them. Graphic car accidents and stories from survivors (often teens) definitely gain viewer's attention. But as startling as those images and messages may be, are they really spurning teens to change the way that they behave behind the wheel?

The focus of this year's safe driving campaign is to try not to scare teens into stopping distracted driving or other equally unsafe driving habits, but rather to teach them better habits that will translate into safer roads for everyone.

To start, supporters of NTDSW offer these three tips:

  1. "Focus on the positive." Rather than telling the teenager in your life all of the things that he or she should not be doing, reinforce the things that he or she should be doing - like wearing a seatbelt.
  2. "Engage rather than offend." Create your own campaign at your school or in your neighborhood. Get friends or family involved with the planning and use it as an opportunity to educate teen drivers, not condemn them.
  3. "Empower rather than scare." Use scare tactics is not a way to positively change behavior. Celebrate safe driving habits and good passenger behaviors. Stay positive and others will follow the lead.

Source: Teendriversource, "Get Behind National Teen Driver Safety Week."

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