You’ve probably talked with your kids about not drinking and driving, right? And it’s likely that a fair number of your have addressed not doing drugs and driving, especially if you’re like me and live in a state in which cannabis has been legalized.
But have you talked to your teens about not driving when they are tired and have not had sufficient sleep?
There are more vehicular accidents caused by drowsy driving than those caused by alcohol and drugs combined.
I admit I was really shocked when I read that in the book Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker, PhD.
He went on to say that “[t]ragically, one person dies in a traffic accident every hour in the United States due to a fatigue-related error.”
People who sleep 6-7 hours a night are twice as likely to be involved in a crash than are people who sleep 8 hours a night, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
This is a particularly big problem among teens. The Sleep Foundation says “that younger drivers account for almost two-thirds of drowsy-driving crashes, even though they represent only one fourth of licensed drivers.” Moreover, they report that young adults ages 18-29 are more likely to say they’ve driven drowsy (71 percent), compared to roughly half of adults ages 30-64.
Parents can help by first making their teen drivers aware of the dangers and then stressing the importance of not driving when drowsy. Encourage them to get enough sleep.
When getting more sleep is not possible, make sure they know they have alternatives to hopping behind the wheel when exhausted. That’s especially true in this era of ride shares (which, of course, need to be done safely). Model making good choices, and let them/hear you ask someone else to drive because you’re tired.
How can parents help teens get more sleep? Get some expert advice from this post: How parents can help teens get enough sleep.
And if you have kids who really need to understand the why behind behavior changes, have them read Why We Sleep. It’s a fascinating explanation of the benefits of a good night’s rest and convincing argument for prioritizing sleep. I discovered it after Bill Gates included it on his recent book list.
Here’s to rest teens and safer roads!
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Prior Post: 14 Things to Love about Teens
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