Peer Pressure

You’ve probably experienced peer pressure before, and you might have to deal with it again — especially when you start driving with friends in the car. They may encourage you to turn the music up, drink and drive, look at text messages, speed or otherwise behave recklessly behind the wheel. Here are a few tips to help you beat negative peer pressure:

  • Blame your parent-teen driving agreement. Tell your friends that your parents will take away your driving privileges if you do anything to violate your family’s rules. Most likely, your friends would rather you keep your keys.
  • Dodge the situation. Don’t put yourself in situations where you might be tempted to do something risky. If your friends are going to a party where alcohol is going to be present, avoid possible peer pressure entirely: take yourself out of the equation early and tell them you’re not going.
  • Visualize before you realize. Try to visualize a potentially negative situation before you get into it and prepare a mental script of how you could deal with it.
  • Stand for what you believe in. For example, if you believe that racing another car is stupid, but your friends are laying on the peer pressure — stand up for what you believe and tell them why. If they don’t get it, then drive them home.
  • Make a deal with your parents. Many families have a “free ride” agreement. If you’re in a situation where you don’t feel safe — while driving or as a passenger — you can call your parents for a ride home with no questions asked until after you get home.

Remember, when driving, you’re in control and you make the decisions where, when and how you’re going to drive.