In recognition of National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, it’s a good time for parents/guardians to assess their own driving behaviors and to be proactive in talking to their teens. Stress that both alcohol and marijuana impair driving–if you feel different, you drive different. CTAD’s new Marijuana Fact Sheet describes how driving is impacted.
Here are a few tips on having a conversation with your teen about impaired driving:
Talk early and often — Don’t wait for the “right” time to talk to your teen about impaired driving. Take advantage of having a conversation when your teen asks to borrow the car, at the dinner table or when you’re both in the car together.
Reinforce expectations — Let your teen know that it’s never okay to get behind the wheel while under the influence OR to be a passenger with someone who is impaired.
Help them prepare an exit plan — Reinforce that it’s okay to say no to a friend or family member who is under the influence and offers your teen a ride. Discuss some alternative plans, including: calling you, a friend or relative; calling a ride-share service or taxi; and, convincing the person under the influence not to drive and suggesting they find another way home.
Show them you care — Emphasize to your teen that you’re on their side. You’re having this conversation because you care, not because you assume they will ever get behind the wheel when under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
Talking to your teen offers additional tips/resources.
It’s not one 60-minute conversation.
It’s 60 one-minute conversations.