HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Getting behind the wheel is one of the most dangerous things you'll do today, and if you have a teen out on the road, its even more deadly for them.
According to the CDC, eight teens a day are killed in car crashes, but injuries and deaths can be prevented, which is why there is a national push to get a conversation going between parent and teen.
National Teen Driver Safety Week is the perfect time to sit down with a teen to reinforce safe driving, remembering every week and every day should be a time to stress this important topic.
Here in the U.S., motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens ages 14 to 18. In fact, almost half of the teen drivers involved in a crash will die.
In an effort to keep kids from joining that horrific statistic, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is teaching the lesson, "Five to Drive," the five important rules teen drivers need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel.
"Five to Drive," addresses the worst dangers for teen drivers: Alcohol, seat belts, speeding, texting and extra passengers.
Research shows the risk of a fatal crash goes up in direct relation to the number of teenagers in the car.
One of the most important safety features for your teen driver is you, and local driving instructors say to start with the basics.
"Pay attention to the road, keep a good two to three second following distance," said Mike Doneff, Lead Instructor of the Safe Driving School Inc. "If they do that, they will compensate for a lot of mistakes."
You are the biggest influence on your teen driver, but believe it or not, only 25 percent of parents take the time to talk with their kids about the dangers of driving. That's according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the same organization urging you to follow these tips to keep your kids safe.
Discuss your rules of the road with your teen, why they are important to follow, and consequences for breaking them. Create a
, putting the rules in writing. One conversation could save the life of your child.
Spell out the rules. For example, explain to your kids texting while driving is illegal and comes with severe consequences, especially if they end up in a crash.
Get creative, you could write your teen a letter, leave notes in the car, or use social media to get your message across.
While talk is important, action is even better. You're teaching your kids how to drive the minute they're old enough to sit in your car.
"The kids are watching their parents drive for years and years, and they think eating and driving is fine, they think talking on the phone and driving is fine," said Doneff. "So, parents can do a good job of avoiding all those distractions."
There are tools you can use to keep your kids safe. There's a device you can buy called
. You plug it into the cigarette lighter in your teen's car. If there is a crash, or an emergency, the service will call 911 dispatchers and you, in case the driver cannot call.
It also tracks the route of the driver, like a GPS device, so you can find them if you need to.
There are many more tips and tools you can use to keep your kids safe behind the wheel. For more information visit: