According to the National Safety Council, the 100 days of summer between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest of the year for teens.
Why? The number of teen-driver car accidents skyrockets during these hot summer days. School is out, road trips and vacations are underway, and thousands of inexperienced teen drivers hit the road – many for the very first time. This creates the perfect storm for tragic teenage traffic accidents. Here’s how to keep your teens safe during the “100 deadliest days.”
Purchase or let your child drive a safe vehicle with modern technologies to help prevent collisions. Newer models with driver-assist technologies such as automatic braking or lane-keeping can help your teen stay on the road and keep safe following distances from other vehicles. Buying a car that will help keep your child safe, even in the event of an accident, can give you peace of mind and ultimately save his or her life. Check out the 2018 safest cars for teens list to aid in your purchasing decision.
Teach your child driving safety rules and best practices from the very beginning. Consider enrolling your child in a driver’s education course beyond only that which the Department of Motor Vehicles requires for licensure. The more schooling your child receives on how to drive well and safe, the lower the risk of accidents. More driver’s education can also lead to lower car insurance premiums.
Teach through example when it comes to safe driving practices. If your teen sees you on your phone or texting and driving, he or she will assume it’s okay to do it, too. Obey all roadway rules, be polite to other drivers, and put your phone and other distractions away. The better you are as a driver, the more likely it will be that your child will be too. Encourage him or her to follow your lead by being a safe driver!
Don’t be afraid to be “that” parent over the summer. Put your foot down when it comes to letting your child go on long road trips without adult supervision, driving around more than one passenger at a time, staying on the roads late at night, and drinking and driving. These are dangerous practices that teens do all too often. Do your best to prevent them by keeping strict rules over your teen’s summer – at least when it comes to safe driving practices. Drowsy, distracted, and reckless driving kill thousands of teenagers every year.
Teenagers are much more likely to underestimate the risks of dangerous situations than adults when driving. Teens are also more likely to make errors in judgment that cause serious car accidents. Even if your teen has a regular driver’s license and can drive alone, consider chaperoning summer vacations and road trips. Offer to drive your teen and his/her friends to their destination. Go with your teen whenever possible to supervise his/her driving habits yourself. Teens will be much less likely to get away with dangerous and illegal practices behind the wheel with a responsible parent or adult in the car.
Texting and driving is a significant cause of fatal teenage driver accidents. In 2015, 42% of teenagers admitted to texting and driving. The actual number of teens who are guilty of this bad habit is likely much larger. Texting and driving is the ultimate form of distraction, taking a driver’s hands, eyes, and attention from the task of driving. Ask your cell phone provider if it has a program or service to help prevent distracted driving. Many offer parental controls and alerts that can help prevent this serious form of distraction.