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Caution: Road Curves Ahead

teen driver

Sadly, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds. But every day, countless teens find their daily lives skidding dangerously out of control because they are unprepared to handle the increasing responsibilities of maturity.

"Getting a driver's license is a rite of passage for American teens," says Catherine Harris, coauthor of "The Teenager's Roadside Guide to Life: Preparing New Drivers for the Road Ahead" (Golden State Publishing). "It's also a symbolic metaphor for growing up and accepting responsibility."

Written in collaboration with her 16-year-old son Joe Harris, "The Teenager's Roadside Guide to Life" offers inspiration for teens as well as solace for parents who are parting with their keys. While this is their first book, it's not the first time Catherine and Joe have teamed up to make the world a better place for others. Together, they have built and repaired schools in Costa Rica, taught conversational English in Southern Italy, coached for the Special Olympics and trained for the Vancouver Marathon to help raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

"Before your son or daughter zooms off, parents need to make sure their teens can handle being in the driver's seat," says Catherine. With that in mind, she and Joe offer the free special report "Is Your Teen Ready for the Driver's Seat? 5 Questions to Help You Find Out" available at MyTeenageDriver.com.

Here Catherine and Joe share five tips to help your teens steer clear of life-threatening collisions and handle any curves that come their way, in life or on the road:

  1. Plan ahead. Remember, it wasn't raining when Noah built the ark.
  2. Do not enter. There are some places you just know you shouldn't go ... so don't. It takes time to develop character, but only a moment to get a reputation.
  3. Never lose sight of the horizon. Is what you're doing today getting you closer to where you want to be tomorrow?
  4. Never sit in the driver's seat when you are upset. There are hundreds of reasons for road rage, but not one excuse.
  5. Plan an alternate route. Life conditions are just as unpredictable as the weather. Always have Plan B, just in case.

"It's not about the car, well ... sort of," says Joe. "Life isn't about what you are driving. Life is about what's driving you to succeed, to serve others and to be the best you can be."

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