The time has come for your teenager to learn how to drive, an exciting but for some parents, a nerve-wracking rite of passage. Being seated correctly is the essential first step. Ensure your child’s seat is adjusted far enough forward that their feet can press down on the pedals comfortably (keeping the knees slightly bent). At the same time, they should not be sitting too close to the steering wheel, because in the event of an accident, the impact of the deploying airbag might be too strong.
One of the ways Subaru improves the overall safety of both drivers and passengers is by including seven Supplemental Restraint System airbags. And because driver’s legs are particularly vulnerable to injury in frontal collisions, Subaru incorporates a driver’s knee airbag for additional protection. This safety feature is enhanced by the way the car’s Boxer engine has been designed - in case of a frontal collision, it will slide beneath the floor of the car rather than pushing directly into the front cabin.
Seats also play a critical role in both keeping drivers alert and protecting them in case of an accident. Subaru’s no-fatigue driver's seat distributes the driver’s weight evenly across a broader segment of the seat cushion, helping reduce fatigue during longer drives. The shock-absorbing seat design also helps keep passengers safe in the case of rear-end collisions. Tiltable and extendable head restraints can be adjusted for maximum comfort and, more importantly, will help protect front occupants against whiplash in a rear-end collision.
While your teen may be in the driver’s seat, you are their coach. Ensure that they follow all the road safety measures, like wearing a seatbelt. You may want to remind them that, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, people who don’t wear a seatbelt are 30 times more likely to be ejected from the vehicle during an accident. Wearing a seatbelt also reduces the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by as much as 45%. To ensure both comfort and safety, Subaru includes pretensioners that instantly tighten the front seatbelts to hold occupants more firmly in their seats during a crash.
One of the best life-saving lessons you can teach a new driver is the importance of driving defensively. Teen drivers can also benefit from a second line of defense – safety features that can protect them when they fail to stay focused on the road ahead.
Here are some defensive driving tips to help your new driver stay safe, along with a few Subaru safety features that new drivers can benefit from:
Maintain a safe following distance. The rule of thumb is a three-to-four-second interval between your car and the car in front of you, which you can calculate using a fixed object on the side of the road. Allow for more space in difficult weather conditions. For Subaru drivers, there’s also a second line of defense. If you are approaching the vehicle in front of you at an unsafe speed, Subaru EyeSight’s Pre-Collision Braking system can apply the car’s full braking capability to possibly avert a rear-end collision.
Always double-check your blind spot. Owing to the proliferation of motorcycles, blind spots are one of the most common causes of accidents in Asia. But for a novice driver especially, constantly turning your head to see what’s in your blind spot before changing lanes can be disorienting. Subaru’s Blind Spot Detection helps solve this challenge. The system uses radar sensors mounted in the rear bodywork to identify and detect oncoming traffic. Lights in the side-view mirrors signal traffic detected in a blind spot. The Rear Cross Traffic Alert feature uses the same sensors to warn the driver of traffic approaching from the side of the car when backing up. These features are all part of Subaru’s Rear Vehicle Detection System, designed to ensure drivers can see what’s going on around them from every possible angle.
Slow down as you approach intersections. Aggressive driving around intersections is a major contributor to serious or fatal accidents, which are often the result of side collisions, where passengers tend to be most vulnerable. Subaru cars are specifically designed to protect the occupants from every angle in case of high-impact collisions – thanks to the ring-shaped reinforcement frame, side impact beams, and an advanced airbag system that deploys up to seven airbags.
Minimize distractions. According to the World Health Organization, drivers using mobile phones are approximately four times more likely to be involved in a crash than drivers not on their mobile phone. Using a mobile while driving impacts everything from braking reaction time to our ability to react to traffic signals. It also leads to misjudging follow distances and makes it hard to stay in the correct lane. Subaru can help distracted drivers stay on the road safely in a number of ways. If a driver begins to drift into another lane, Subaru’s Lane Departure Warning will remind you to drive within your lane, and if a driver’s vehicle begins to veer off-course, Subaru’s Lane Sway Warning will remind you to keep within the lines and drive safely.
According to the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development Goals, road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5 to 29 globally.
Teaching your teenager how to drive safely may be the most important lesson you’ll ever share with them. Just remember that you were once a novice driver, too. Give them the information they need to be responsible behind the wheel, and the confidence to make smart decisions. You may not be able to protect them from everything, but providing the right guidance, and knowing what to look out for in the car they drive, can help you play a meaningful role in keeping them safe on the road.