It’s a troubling fact: Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens. Parents with newly-minted drivers in their family want to know how best to keep them safe on the road.

In addition to fundamentals like driver’s education and keeping an emergency kit in the car, Greg L'Hommedieu, vice president of store sales and operations at Les Schwab Tire Centers, says there are three considerations that can make your teenage driver as safe as possible on the road:

The right tires

A key safety factor is the ability to stop when and where you want. Brakes in good working order are essential, but it’s the tires the only part of the car that actually touches the pavement — that actually grip the road and stop the car.

L’Hommedieu suggests thinking in terms of drivability rather than durability. “Proper tire selection starts with knowing how the car will be used — in what weather, on what terrain,” he says. “Our experts at any Les Schwab location can help you select the right tire, and then educate you and your teen on tire maintenance — proper inflation, tread depths, regular rotation and inspections.” Irregular wear on tires can erode the tire’s grip and cause the car to “pull” to one side, affecting safety.

Hands-on tech

Driver assistance technologies can make a real difference, L’Hommedieu says. “Newer cars offer advanced driver-assistance systems like adaptive cruise control and backup cameras. These technologies improve safety tremendously.”

Accident avoidance

Collision warning technology and lane departure sensors can be the difference between a near-miss and an accident.

The final word: Be proactive. “A tire and car inspection at a Les Schwab Tire Center — which we’re happy to do, as well as a free pre-trip safety check — might cost you zero dollars and catch something before it impacts your safety,” L’Hommedieu stresses.