At present, there are approximately 13.2 million drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 in the USA. While getting a driving permit is a big step towards gaining independence for a teen, it is also a worrying milestone, as driving is one of the riskiest activities a teenager can engage in. Teens with ADHD tend to be more impulsive and easy to distract than others, making it even more imperative that good driving skills are instilled from a young age. Although there are driving instructors that deal specifically with new drivers with ADHD, parents can also help develop safe driving habits by focusing on a number of key areas.
Distracted driving is the leading cause of teen motor vehicle accidents in the USA, making it imperative to limit the number of distractions in the car. Cell phone use in the car should be restricted to emergencies only with the phone kept out of reach of a driving teen. While music can help improve the focus of some individuals with ADHD, it can have the exact opposite effect on others. Regardless of the case, aim to limit the source of music as well as the music selection itself to prevent any distracted driving from occurring. Although it may be nice to have company while you drive, it is important that teens understand just how distracting passengers can be. It is recommended, especially for new drivers, to either drive without any passengers or choose them carefully.
Ensure the car is safe and suitable
A roadworthy car equipped with adequate safety features will not only aid in keeping a young driver safe on the road, but will also provide parents with added peace of mind. If you are shopping for a new car, opt for one that does not feature any distracting features such as steering wheel radio controls and large video displays. Instead, consider one that sports features such as speed limit recognition, curtain airbags, and auto emergency braking (AEB). Have the vehicle serviced frequently and also teach your teen to check basic things such as the tires, windscreen wipers, and fluid levels on a regular basis. Seek out feedback from other drivers when determining what vehicle will be the safest and most reliable for a teenager with ADHD.
Be mindful of medication
If your teen is taking any medication prescribed for their ADHD it is of the utmost importance to ensure that it is in effect while they are driving. As there are both long-acting and short-acting ADHD medications it is vital to note the release arc of the stimulant your teen is using and try to tailor the medication schedule as close as possible to typical driving times. While it is important to reiterate the importance of taking the correct medicine at the correct time, it is also essential to explain how dangerous it can be to drive under the influence of medication and other substances such as drugs and alcohol.
Seeing your teen gain independence and take to the road can be very troublesome for parents. Thankfully, equipping children with safe driving skills can go a long way in ensuring that they stay safe while using the road.