You don’t want to admit that you don’t trust your teen, but we all know how to tell when a teen is lying (his mouth is open). There are a few universal truths that pertain to teens pretty much across the board: no matter how closely you watch them, they’re going to get away with something; they are just learning what it means to be an individual, and that often requires them to rebel against your authority; and they are subject to the influence of peer pressure.
Teens are also inexperienced when it comes to driving, so that even if they are trustworthy and level-headed, the odds are that they will have an accident before a year has gone by. This can make it pretty hard to let your teen tool around in the car. But if you want him to become independent, letting him out of the nest is part of the process. Fortunately, there are technological tools that can help to keep your teen safe in the car. Here are a few to consider:
1. Bluetooth. Hands-free is definitely the way to go when it comes to driving, whether you’re a teen or a seasoned adult driver. Apparently lawmakers agree since many states are adopting (or drafting) legislation to make talking and texting while holding your phone illegal. The truth is that anything that distracts a driver from the road can be dangerous, especially when that driver is new to the game. So get your teen a Bluetooth headset at the very least, and consider installing a voice-command system in your car (or making your next car a Bluetooth enabled model).
2. Talk-to-text. This is a major technological leap that is geared at reducing the number of accidents attributed to answering texts and posting updates on Facebook while driving. We live in a connected world and we have to adjust accordingly. If your teen can’t seem to keep his mitts off the keypad when he’s driving, look into systems like OnStar or Sync that are offering talk-to-text options that allow for messages in text to be converted to audio files (and vice versa). Some even feature web browsing on certain enabled sites.
3. Blue Link (for Hyundai). This one goes out to the parents who are a little concerned that their teens aren’t engaging in safe driving or that they’re not following the conditions set forth for driving privileges. The car will send you alerts (via phone call or text) when set speed limits are exceeded, the vehicle exits a geographic boundary, or the engine is started after curfew. You might not stop your teen from engaging in acts of delinquency at the moment they occur, but you can definitely confront him and confiscate his keys later on.
4. MyKey. Want to go a step further in ensuring your teen’s safety? Ford is here to help. The MyKey system allows you to program controls that go into effect when your teen’s key is in the ignition. You can set a maximum speed (so that your teen can’t go on the highway or exceed city speed limits, for example) and control the volume level of the stereo (to make sure it’s not too distracting). Of course, if your teen seems to be trustworthy, you might just program in warning chimes to let him know when he’s hit certain speeds.
5. Breathalyzer interlock system. If you’re concerned about drinking and driving, consider installing a system that will force your teen to give a breath sample before turning the key. You can set it so that even a hint of alcohol will ensure that the car doesn’t start.
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