Keeping Teens Safe

The Key to Keeping Teens Safe …

Watch the video to learn how to keep your teen safe and to learn more about what safe driving skills they should be learning.

Did you know that teens have 4 times as many crashes than all other age groups combined!

Driving is dangerous and teens are inexperienced. In our society, most teens drive or ride as passengers with other teens. You can’t avoid it.

Teens cause a lot of crashes because they are new drivers. Although they may not cause the crash,  they can still be hurt or die if they don’t react quickly enough and do the right thing when something goes wrong.

Practice, practice, practice – is what helps them recognize hazards and avoid them or instinctively react to avoid collisions. The 3 Keys Book gives the tools on how to practice properly.

"But Anne Marie, I’m not a driving instructor."

That’s okay! You and your teen are exactly the people I made this program for. As long as you have a valid driver’s license, this program will give you the tools you need to coach, support and monitor your new driver.




Sandy3 Keys To Keeping Your Teen Alive,” by Anne Marie Hayes, is a comprehensive resource that fills a tremendous need for parents to work through guiding their child to become a safe driver. The interactive style of this resource between teen and parent provides a tool for families to work together through the teen driver experience. National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) believes that all work done to address youth safety should be done with youth and not to youth. This resource supports that model and supports parent/teen learning relationships."

-Sandy Spavone, Executive Director
National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS)


“This book is a must read for all teens and new drivers. As a
mother who lost her daughter in a car accident, I think Anne Marie
covers all the risks out there for new drivers.”

-Linda Mulkey, Lauren’s Mom


Dean Johnson

“Designed with parental involvement in mind, 3 Keys to Keeping Your Teen Alive is a comprehensive instruction manual designed to give all new drivers a solid foundation of driving skills, based upon proven safe-driving principles. I highly recommend its use in the instruction of inexperienced drivers, and as a future reference guide, for a lifetime of safe driving.”

-Dean T. Johnson, President
The Sandy Johnson Foundation

Dangerous Distractions

Dangerous Distractions

Talking on cell phones and texting while driving are in the news a lot these days because they are dangerous distractions. They aren’t the only distractions. Eating, drinking (even coffee or soda), changing radio stations and smoking are all things people do in cars every day. They cause thousands of accidents every year and are especially dangerous for learning drivers.

Creating a family driving contract may sound like you’re going too far. After all, you trust your teen, don’t you?

develop safe driving skills
One of Many Dangerous Distractions

The contracts accomplish two things. First, they make sure your teen understands the rules – because this is an area where “I thought you meant …” just won’t do. Second, they give your teen an excuse to do the right thing. Overall, contracts are a great tool towards teaching your teen safe driving skills.

We all remember how tough it was to stand up to friends who pressured us to do something we knew we shouldn’t. When you have rules in place, with strict penalties you’re prepared to enforce if they’re broken – you give your teen a way out. They can tell friends who are pushing them to ‘speed up to catch that guy’ or ‘show that jerk who’s boss’ - “If I do that and get caught, I’ll lose the car for six months! There’s no way I’m gonna risk that.”

Teens have an extra challenge

Today’s Teens Have an Extra Challenge

Driving is dangerous for everyone but today’s teens have a special challenge. Between computers, iPods and cell phones - they spend most of their day focused about 12 inches in front of their noses. Drivers, however, need to be watching a quarter-mile down the road! They need to keep their eyes up and use their peripheral vision – and those skills don’t come naturally. You need to coach your new driver to develop them.

Plus – new drivers need to develop that 360-degree awareness of what’s happening all around them. They need to be watching their mirrors all the time so they know where other vehicles are – (not to mention, pedestrians, cyclists and other hazards)! Then they need to be adjusting their speed and position continually so they maintain a protective “cushion” of space around their vehicle. You need to be their second set of eyes until they are really roadworthy.

No matter how mature they look and sound, teens are not adults.

16 year-olds are extremely motivated to learn to drive – but they aren’t automatically equipped to deal with it all. Studies show their brains won’t mature until around age 25, so things adults think are ‘common sense’ aren’t common at all to teenagers! They can be the most responsible, reliable kids in the world but sometimes they just don’t see how actions could have disastrous consequences! You need to talk to them and help them plan how to deal with potentially dangerous situations – before they encounter them.

Some road maneuvers are dangerous for everyone!

Take left-hand turns for example. You’re taking your life into your hands every time you do it because you need to cross a moving lane of traffic!

How fast is that car coming? Will that speeding truck stop when the light turns yellow?

Those kinds of judgments are very hard for new drivers to make – especially when the guy behind them lays on his horn or their buddies are yelling “Go! Go! Go!” Inexperienced drivers make mistakes and …

… driving mistakes can be deadly!

Think of all the things you need to know to drive - right turns, left turns, double-left turns (yikes!), lane changes, speed limit changes, speed bumps, school zones, hospital zones, construction zones, cross walks…

Then there’s interacting with other vehicles like school buses, city buses, speeding ambulances, trucks and police cars.

Parallel parking is the bane of every new driver but there are lots of other weird and potentially dangerous parking situations too. Underground parking, dark parking lots, wheelchair parking, leaving your keys, dealing with parking tickets …

Then there are highways, freeways and toll roads!

High speed driving has its own challenges but there’s also - merging into moving traffic, dealing with multiple lanes, gassing up, understanding the road signs, knowing where you are and what to do if you get lost – not to mention – toll booths, MOV lanes, breakdown lanes, soft shoulders and missed exits!

Country Driving Sounds Serene But It’s Loaded With Danger for New Drivers Too!

Gravel roads, phantom shoulders, pot-holes and slow-moving vehicles are just some of the challenges drivers face on country roads. Plus drivers tend to speed when there’s not a lot of other traffic!

The list goes on and on … Summer driving involves rain, fog and glaring sun! Winter driving involves icy roads, getting stuck in snow and dealing with snow plows! Railway crossings sometimes have gates and sometimes there’s only a sign. PLUS … everything looks different at Night!

1 in 2 Teens will be Involved in a Crash Within 6 Months of Getting Their License

You can help your teen by coaching them through all of those tricky situations so they get that crucial practice and develop the reflexive skills they need to survive it.

Last week I talked to a lady whose daughter was killed by a driver who was texting. At the end of the conversation, she said to me, “It’s so nice to talk to someone who didn’t have to lose their child to ‘get it!’”

Keep Your Teen Alive

Keep Your Teen Alive

Teens Think “If I’m Sober, I’m Safe” – but They’re Wrong.

There’s an even bigger threat to teens. I’ve been driving for years and I thought I knew a lot, but after researching this project, I realized how much I didn’t know and I knew I had to share this information with other parents.

My “3 Keys to Keeping Your Teen Alive” workbook will help you create action plans with your teen so they will know what to do when a potentially dangerous situation arises. You will also learn these secrets:

  • How to protect your young teen from a risk far greater than drinking and driving!

  • Which vehicles are best for new teen drivers and which ones to avoid

  • How your teen can get help in an emergency – even though you don’t subscribe to a cell phone plan

  • Which times of day are most dangerous for teen drivers? (You’ll be shocked by the answers!)

  • The one event no teen should drive to – and creative options for getting there instead.

  • How to take advantage of great free or cheap supplementary driving courses for your teen

Did you know that - in a crash -
an unbelted passenger can kill your teen?

If your teen is involved in a crash, their seatbelt is the #1 thing that will keep them alive! Teens find lots of excuses not to wear them and peer pressure is a powerful factor, so just telling them ‘always wear your seatbelt’ isn’t enough. Your conversation about seatbelts needs to include what to do if:

seatbelt = safe driving skill
Lone Survivor Wore a Seatbelt
  • Nobody else does up their seatbelt

  • There are 6 people and 5 seatbelts

  • A friend refuses to buckle-up in their car

  • Someone wants to ride in the trunk or the back of the pickup truck – so the cops won’t see them?

There are lots of other topics that require in-depth conversations instead of flat statements. ‘Don’t drink and drive’ is another good example. It sounds simple but teens need help putting together action plans for how to deal with tricky situations like when:

  • They’re the designated driver but they had ‘a few beers’ even though they know they weren’t supposed to

  • A friend (who may or may not have been drinking) offers to drive them home in your car

  • The friend they went with has been drinking and they need a safe ride home

  • They get stranded at a party and need to get a ride home from someone they don’t know

3 Keys to Keeping Your Teen Alive” has stories followed by questions to help families explore situations and work out strategies for dealing with them. Don’t leave it to your teen to deal with them on the fly when they’re already in trouble or under pressure.


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