Winchester Medical Center

WIN 2015

Spirit of Women magazine is a national publication presented to women by hospitals and their physicians. The magazine provides up-to-date, evidence-based healthcare information and promotes our hospitals as leaders in women's health excellence.

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9 SHUTTERSTOCK w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m W I N T E R 2 015 S P I R I T O F W O M E N F A M I L Y S T Y L E HITTING THE ROAD If you think your child is ready for a license, the best way to find out is to let her get her permit and give it a try under supervision. "The more experience kids get behind the wheel, the better, and these days we're finding that kids aren't getting enough driving time with parents," explains Holmberg. Dr. Knudson suggests that teens get at least 30 to 50 hours of supervised driving practice over a six-month period, at different times of day and during different types of weather and traffic conditions. "It is important that both the parent and the teen feel comfortable in the teen's ability prior to the teen driving on their own," she says. "Certainly if a teen is not interested in driving, that is a huge sign that they just aren't ready, and I would not advise any parent to push [them.]" • P utting your child behind the wheel of a car is a big step for both of you, so your state's legal driving age should be only one of your considerations, say experts. "Looking at the maturity level and the ability of the teen to be responsible overall is very important . . . If they take responsibility in their daily life, you can expect that they will take responsibility once behind the wheel," says Dr. Melissa Knudson, who is a specialist in pediatrics and internal medicine at Riverview Medical Center, Wis- consin Rapids, Wis. Your teen's response to everyday situations is a good guideline for driving readiness, agrees Tracey Holmberg, RN, an injury prevention coordinator with Swedish Medi- cal Center, Englewood, Colo. "Do they remain calm and in control if something surprising or unexpected happens?" she says. "Can they follow rules? How resistant are they to peer pressure and to making good judgments on their own? Are they a risk-taker that might not abide by the rules of the road?" How well your teen is able to pay attention to what's important is also crucial to being ready to become a driver, says Dr. Knudson. If your child is preoccupied with texting, for example, and you can't trust him to put the phone down to drive, "that is just a setup for a distracted driver, which is one of the leading causes of crashes," she says. By Stephanie Thompson More teens now die in motor vehicle accidents that result from texting than from drunk driving—more than 3,000 each year, according to research from Cohen Children's Medical Center in New York—and nearly half of all drivers ages 15 to 18 nationwide say they text while driving. So make sure you send a clear message to your teen driver that texting and driving don't mix. driver's license? When is your teen ready for a Texting tragedies

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