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5 Ways to Prevent Teens from Drunk Driving

You want your teen to be confident and adventurous, but those same virtues can lead them to take some inappropriate risks. Drinking and driving are one of the leading causes of teen injury and death. Teens who drink and drive, or accept rides from those who do, are putting themselves in serious danger.

You can’t watch your teen all the time, but you can take some steps to discourage or prevent them from drinking and driving. The following five methods can help prevent tragedy.


Communicate Your Expectations

Your teens may be becoming more independent, but they still look to you for direction. You need to communicate what you expect from them and turn those expectations into a conversation. Help them understand why you take drinking and driving so seriously.

This is a conversation that you should be prepared for, so be willing to provide statistics, recent news stories and other information that can help to explain why this matters so much to you. Arm them with the facts that will make them better decision makers, and don’t automatically assume that they already have the information that they need.


Establish Clear Rules and Consequences

In order to cement your expectations, create clear rules that you enforce consistently. Make sure that your rules include situations such as…

  • drinking in general 
  • driving while drinking
  • accepting rides from friends who are drinking
  • Any lies related to the other activities

For each of these rules, have clear consequences in place. For example, any teen who drinks while driving should lose driving privileges immediately, and lose them for an appropriate amount of time for the consequences to sink in.

Even without interference from the law, you can choose to have an interlock device installed in your cars. It will ensure absolutely that the vehicle cannot be used by a drunk driver. You can call Alco Alert Interlock for more information about interlock devices in California.


Keep your Alcohol Completely Out of Reach

In order for teens to get drunk and drive, they first need access to alcohol in the first place. Don’t make it easy for them to get any you have at your home. If you can keep it out of the home, do that. Otherwise, make sure that it is securely locked up and that only you have access to the key.

It is easy for adults to forget how clever and consistent young people are. Don’t assume that they don’t know where the key is hidden just because you’ve never seen them with it. Keep your key somewhere secure, like in a wallet or purse that you carry with you. Don’t use a combination lock if you’re going to write the combination down anywhere.


Offer a Path Out of Dangerous Situations that Allows them to Save Face

One of the biggest reasons that teens don’t pull away from dangerous situations is a fear of embarrassment. They don’t want to be seen as cowardly to their friends, so make sure that your teens have a way out that will save them face.

For example, give them a code word that they can use that will let you know they want to be picked up without their friends seeing them. They can say they’re going to a different friends house or out to pick up supplies, and then meet you a couple of blocks away.

There should not be punishments when teens are willing to work with you in good faith to avoid getting caught drinking.


Work with Other Parents

Work with the other parents in your teen’s circle of friends to help enforce all the other rules. Make sure that everyone is keeping their alcohol locked up, and doesn’t allow unsupervised consumption in their homes.

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