If your teen has ADD or ADHD, the prospect of passing his or her driving test can be daunting. ADD can affect a teen’s social life and grades, so it makes sense that it can also increase the dangers of driving. As a cautious parent, you’re curious — what are the precautions you (and your teen) should take to stay safe? Limit the risks with these suggestions.
ADD dramatically increases the dangers of driving. Symptoms such as distractibility, impulsivity, and inattention can all lead to automobile accidents. Teens with ADD are also more likely to be ticketed with a traffic citation for speeding, shirking traffic laws, and reckless driving. One way to decrease the dangers is to make sure your teen knows the traffic laws specific to the state you live in. If your teen needs alternative learning resources, Driving-Tests.org provides free practice test materials, which can better acquaint your teen with the knowledge he needs to be a safe driver.
2. Maturity and Treatment
It’s important to gauge how mature your teen is. Sure, they may be old enough to have a driver’s license, but are they mature enough to shoulder the responsibility of driving? Parents should explain to their teens that driving is a privilege and not a right. The privilege of driving should be discussed in relation to ADD/ADHD treatment. Research has shown that teens who have received at least three years of stimulant medication are less likely to be in automobile accidents than teens who have never been treated.
Mature passengers can help an inattentive driver by reminding him to keep his eyes on the road. According to a New York Times article published in 2012, many teens with ADD/ADHD can become good, competent drivers, but it will often take much longer than someone without an attention disorder. This can sometimes be overcome by the simple passing of time — some people with ADD/ADHD will become less distracted as they grow older.
3. More and Less Distractions
In some states, using a cellphone while driving is illegal. Whether you live in a state that has such a regulation, it’s important to impress upon your teen that cellphones should not be used while driving. Making sure your teen takes his medication can help curb impulsive behavior. If your teen responds well to medication, driving and medication are closely connected. A good example of this is the choice of manual transmission cars. University of Virginia professor of psychiatric medicine Daniel Cox PhD, found, in a small study conducted in 2006, that teens with ADD/ADHD found they were more attentive when driving a manual transmission car than an automatic.
4. Safety Tips with a Busy Schedule
Music is a big part of a teen’s life but changing music while driving can be dangerous, and with today’s tech involves swiping around on a smartphone. In order to remove this distraction, encourage your teen to create driving playlists. When driving with a passenger, it’s easy to have someone else pick the music, but while alone, a variety of pre-made playlists might help a new driver have the tunes they want without the distraction.
Teens’ lives are busy! With friends, sports, school, and extracurricular activities, sometimes your child might not take the time to eat. This can prompt teens to grab a bite while they drive. This is an unnecessary risk. To avoid this risk, talk your teen about their schedule and time management. Utilizing time effectively can decrease the risks teens take while driving.