Four road safety points you need to discuss with your child


RACQ is urging parents to have crucial conversations with their teenagers to keep them safe on the road ahead of Schoolies.

Young driver behind the wheel with friend in passenger seat.

RACQ Education Manager Rhonda McKenzie said parents played a huge role in equipping their children with the strategies and skills they need to make responsible choices behind the wheel.

“We need to remember that teenager’s brains aren’t fully developed which can impact their ability to plan ahead and understand the consequences of their behaviour in the moment,” Ms McKenzie said.

“This can mean that teens find themselves in dangerous situations, not knowing what to do. 

“They understand risk but in situations of high emotion and peer influence, the fear of getting in trouble stops them from making the best choices."

 RACQ’s Young Drivers Survey found distraction (GPS and phone) and fatigue were among the most common safety issues for young drivers, and with the excitement of a week-long party with their friends, these are likely to become even bigger issues.

“Parents and educators need to be proactive in filling teenagers’ minds with real stories, real consequences and facts about risky driving behaviour and empower them with the knowledge and strategies they need to make the right decisions,” Ms McKenzie said.

“It’s not a matter of if but when your teens will find themselves in a dangerous situation either as a passenger or driver.

“With Schoolies coming up, thousands of Year 12 students will be getting in their cars with their friends and hitting the roads.

“It’s so important that parents have this crucial conversation so their teenagers make it there and home, safely”.

Four simple steps to a conversation that could save a life

1. Be proactive

Be proactive in starting a conversation about road safety with your teenagers. Talk to your children about the real consequences of their driving behaviour and do it over and over again.

2. Help teens plan ahead

Bad situations can unfold anywhere, at any time. Parents need to make children aware of the situations they could find themselves in that could potentially end badly and help them navigate what options they have, rather than being caught in the moment overwhelmed with emotion and under the influence of their peers

3. Rationalise

Discuss how saving a life and helping a friend is always more important than the trouble they could get in. Often fear drives bad decision-making and the thought of getting in trouble overrides the need to keep safe and look out for themselves and their friends.

4. Strategise

Equip your teens with the ‘one phone call – no questions’ strategy. This allows them to know that no matter what situation they may find themselves in, they have someone to call for help who won’t ask questions and or get angry. They need to know that no matter what, parents always want them home safe. 

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Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.