Talking Teen Safety – Speed
The need for speed is not exclusive to boys and it is important to remind them that the car they are driving is a 2,000 lb. weapon. But, the need for speed extends past cars. It happens with bikes, skate boards, scooters, ATVs, water crafts, in fact, all types of vehicles. If it can go faster and do something interesting then naturally teenagers will want to find out why.
A parent can begin by setting a good example. Fastening a seat belt, driving within the speed limit, coming to a complete stop and avoiding road rage go a long way in teaching your children the value of safety.
Some facts can help your teen understand the dangers of speed
A 150 lb. teenager will launch from a car at the rate of 50 times heavier when there is a sudden stop. That is the equivalent of 7500 lbs. being tossed through a windshield in less than a second. Use a cantaloupe or watermelon to demonstrate in the backyard. Skulls will not stand up to that kind of force. The teen will not have time to react or brace.
- Seat belts always! Read the paper, the last line is always, “driver was not wearing a seat belt”. Nine out of 10 people will die or have life altering injuries if they crash while not wearing a seat belt.
- Streets are designed for the posted speed. It might be fun to try it at 55 mph but controlling the car at that speed may not be possible.
- Weather and conditions are huge variables. Newly surfaced roads with gravel are hard to stop on (like ice). Fog, rain and snow block visibility. Common sense must prevail.
- Ten mph faster than the speed limit. This does not get you there faster. You will sit at the same red light as the people going below the speed limit and will have risked more.
- Speed and distractions. These are a bad mix. Music blaring, friends talking, soda in one hand and a phone in the other are not a good way to ensure a safe drive. Drive within the limits of the law. Listen to music, make calls, have lunch and talk with friends out of the vehicle.
- Speed and foolish interest. Wondering “what will happen” can be the last things a teen will remember or utter when they come off a skateboard trick, motorcycle or ATV while performing a stunt or water sport stunts.
You don’t let your kids learn that the oven is hot by touching it. Show your kids the pictures and consequences of speed and stupidity. The internet is full of examples.
Speed kills. A skateboard or bike can go up to 35 mph on a downhill. That is a mean road rash if there is a sudden stop or bump. The car crossing the road will not see a teen going that fast or that low. Give your teen safe places to play with speed—go cart parks, video games and the like. Cars and other vehicles are not the place for speed. Stay safe.