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What should I say to my teen about drunk driving?

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Posted on January 13, 2020

There are plenty of worries you may have when your teen starts driving. It is a huge responsibility, and teens do not always use their best judgment, so it is a little nerve-wracking when you give them control over a vehicle and let them loose on Illinois streets. Your job is to prepare them the best that you can to be a good, safe driver. One of the things you need to discuss with your teen is drunk driving.

SADD explains that underage drivers who drive under the influence have double the chance of dying in an accident than legal adult drivers in the same condition. Teens, in general, have a higher accident risk even if they are sober, so adding alcohol to the mix only increases those chances, not to mention that the penalties for an underage drunk driving charge are severe.

The effects of alcohol amplify the lack of driving experience and skills of a teen driver. Alcohol, on its own, slows reflexes, creates confusion, reduces peripheral vision, alters depth perception and creates a lack of awareness. Losing body control and having a brain that is not able to focus only heightens the already lacking abilities of a teen behind the wheel.

Adult drivers who have plenty of experience often fail to realize they are too drunk to drive. Since teens do not have experience drinking to the point of getting drunk, they may not even recognize the symptoms until it is too late.

You need to explain these things to your teen. Talk about how dangerous it is to drink and drive. Give your teen alternative options and clarify why he or she should contact you if ever in a situation where someone may get behind the wheel after drinking. This information is for education and is not legal advice.