How to Keep Your Teen Driver Safe

Posted on October 17, 2017

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The relationship teenagers have with their vehicles is vital. A driver’s license is a rite of passage; it means newfound freedom and responsibility. And while imminent adventure awaits, roads also present first-time drivers with new and serious challenges. Driving tests their sense of direction, patience and ability to stay focused. Every year, behaviors such as distracted driving and speeding make motor vehicle crashes the leading cause of death for teens aged 15 to 18 years old.

Let’s look at some of the ways OnStar can help keep teens safe out there.

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Teaching Orientation Skills

Marcus goes into the woods and builds a lean-to out of next to nothing. His scout master calls him MacGyver, but Marcus isn’t really sure what he means by that. The fires he builds have been described as “too beautiful to burn.” But his infamous lack of direction almost kept him from acquiring his Orienteering Merit Badge. “Kid, you get turned around quicker than a coin flip,” his scout master used to say.

Marcus is a newly licensed 16-year-old driver, but his folks aren’t worried about irresponsible driving — whenever they’re with him, he always lets them know the very second their speedometer rises above the speed limit. “But can he find his way out of the driveway?” Mom wonders. Using the GPS on his smartphone, Marcus learned how to orient his way through the woods and earn his badge. Using OnStar Turn-by-Turn Navigation,11 Marcus safely and smartly finds his way from school to the forest, and safely back home again.

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Hands-free for the Win

When Aiden’s dad got a new job on the other side of the state, there was one silver lining: His new high school was in desperate need of a quarterback.

Now he’s standing at the line of scrimmage. Fourth quarter. Third down. Aiden’s entire year could be decided by what happens next, and he knows the defense is ready for the play he’s about to run. So does his coach. The built-in, wireless speaker in his helmet crackles to life, and Aiden hears his coach’s voice: “Okay, kid. New play. Let’s take it to the house.” On the way home later, he can use his own built-in, wireless OnStar Hands-Free Calling14 to brag about the big win and pay attention to the road — letting him immediately react to any crashes ahead of him. A built-in, wireless connection helped Aiden save the game. It may also help save his life.

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Road Rage

While at a chess tournament, 17-year-old Ranjana glares at her opponent and thinks to herself, “Don’t even think about sliding that rook toward MY queen.” But the rook goes on the move — and so does her temper. Her mother and her chess coach recognize her quiet rage. Her coach sees it when Ranjana’s opponents make moves she doesn’t anticipate. Her mom sees it when she’s driving, laying on the horn when cars cut her off or slamming on the brakes because she tailgates slow drivers. “You’re lucky university admissions don’t look at OnStar Smart Driver17 scores,” her mom warns.

For the first time, Ranjana regains composure, taking a few very deep breaths. “Breaths with purpose,” her mother calls it. Her mom smiles and says to the coach, “We’ve been working on her rage ever since her brother started driving. He has a better OnStar Smart Driver score than she does … and she just can’t stand it.”

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The Best Study Aid

Placing the golden cords and stole around the neck of her graduation robe, Erykah stares at her reflection in the bedroom mirror. “Valedictorian,” she whispers. Her tone captures modest pride and disbelief. Her mom, who’s been taking photos, says, “You better believe it, baby girl.” A tear comes to mom’s eye, and all the work it took to get to this very moment comes rushing back to the 18-year-old. Student government campaigns. Debate competitions. Her year as an exchange student in France. Her first broken heart. Driving lessons. Late night study marathons. All those times she just ran out of gas — metaphorically, but also literally. When Erykah was in hardcore study mode, her mom was there to make sure she was getting enough sleep, enough to eat. And Roadside Assistance8 was there, more times than Erykah would like to admit, to send out a serviceman with a couple gallons of fuel after she’d been running on E for a little too long.

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It Can Wait

After chopping, sautéing and baking her way through Food & Nutrition class, Serena’s been focused on one thing: becoming the next celebrity food star.

At 18 years old, she’s already cooked up an impressive social media following by posting delectable photos of every meal she makes and orders. “Every time one of my posts gets liked, it’s like some sort of digital amuse-bouche,” she says.

Sometimes Serena gets distracted while trying to come up with the cutest hashtag or searching for the perfect photo filter, and her food ends up burnt or mushy and unworthy of an internet upload. The worst.

Cooking is Serena’s passion. Social media, however, might be more of an obsession. Like kitchens, roads are full of beauty and adventure, but also demand full attention at all times. And when driving, it’s important to remember to keep eyes up and put the phone down. So, whether she’s chopping, frying, baking or driving, Serena sometimes has to be reminded: that post … #ItCanWait.