How to Talk Your Teenager about Drunk Driving
Just like so many other topics, finding the right way to talk with your teen about drunk driving can be uncomfortable and difficult. Parents are the key to keeping teen drivers safe, so make sure you are open with your children and let them know you are always available to answer their questions. Use these helpful topics to learn how to talk to your teenager about drunk driving, and get the conversation started.
Underage drinking. Underage drinking is illegal and dangerous, and should be avoided. Begin the conversation by making your position clear on underage drinking, and have a conversation about your expectations and the consequences of getting behind the wheel when drunk.
It’s the law. The repercussions of a DUI are enough to scare anyone. Possible jail time, insane legal fees, massive debt, and a permanent record are just the beginning. Explain to your teen that one mistake can destroy future job opportunities – a DUI never fully disappears.
It’s OK to call. Even if you’re fairly confident your teen won’t drink, you can never be sure about their friends. Make sure your teen knows they should never, under any circumstances, get into a car with someone who’s been drinking. Instead, make it clear they can call you for a ride anytime, day or night, without getting into trouble. It’s a promise that may save their lives. Sit down with your teen to take the Youth Pledge – a pledge to not drink before age 21 and to always call a guardian for a safe ride home.
Set a curfew. Most drinking and driving incidents happen late at night and in the early hours of the morning. It’s best to keep your teen away from situations that could lead to drinking and driving by making sure they are safely at home at a reasonable hour. It’s also the best way to avoid being the victim of other drunk drivers.
No amount of alcohol is safe. Teens watch their parents, and they may assume that they can safely have a drink or two like you, then drive home. The truth is that teens haven’t had enough experience to know what amount of alcohol is a ‘safe’ amount to consume before driving. Underage drinking is illegal, and that makes it both illegal and incredibly dangerous for them to get behind the wheel after any amount of alcohol.
The most important thing you can do is be a good role model and have honest and open conversations with your teen. Share our drunk driving infographic with your teen to display some of the hard facts on drunk driving:
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