Summertime is full swing, and whether your teen’s days are filled with pool parties and backyard barbecues or earning extra money at a part-time job, there’s no doubt he or she will enjoy a well-deserved break from the books. However, the freedom of summer can also bring more hazards on the road for young drivers. Longer days, later nights and less daily responsibilities mixed in with less experience behind the wheel can be a deadly mix over the summer months.
What are the 100 Deadliest Days?
Between the unofficial start of summer, Memorial Day, and Labor Day in September, there are 100 days in which teen vehicle crashes skyrocket. According to the website We Save Lives, the teen fatality crash rate spikes 26 percent compared to other months of the year, with an average of 260 teens killed every month.
For this reason, AAA has designated this time period as the 100 Deadliest Days on the Road. Teens simply drive more often during the summer, and too many of these teens are distracted behind the wheel. In fact, 60 percent of teen crashes today are caused by distracted driving. Additionally, more teens will be traveling with more passengers in their car, and other passengers are also a top distraction for these inexperienced drivers.
Safe Driving Tips for Your Teen this Summer
Distracted driving isn’t the only risky behavior responsible for teen crashes throughout the summer. In fact, according to AAA, speeding caused 28 percent of fatal teen crashes during the 100 Deadliest Days, while drinking and driving resulted in 17 percent of these crashes. AAA also reports that over the past five years, an average of almost 700 people died in crashes involving teen drivers.
This is why it’s important to remember that your teen still needs your advice and support even after they’ve passed their driving test and have become a licensed driver. Studies have shown that parents who set rules for driving and continue to enforce those rules results in significantly less risky behavior during their teen’s first few years behind the wheel.
As the summer comes into full swing, give your teen a few safe driving tips and set some important ground rules. A few examples include:
- Educating your teen about distracted driving. Make sure your teen knows the dangers surrounding distracted driving. Set rules regarding the use of cell phones and how many passengers are allowed in the vehicle at any time.
- Creating a “safe driving agreement.” AAA offers an example of what this type of document should include. For instance, the agreement should specifically spell out the driving rules set in place and the consequences if any of these rules should be broken. Limiting unnecessary trips and nighttime driving, as well as absolutely restricting any sort of impaired driving should be key in the safe driving agreement.
- Set a good example. Remember, teens watch and learn driving behaviors by watching their parents. If your teen sees you talking on your cell phone, driving erratically or speeding, he or she may think these are normal behaviors to engage in.
Driving is a privilege any time of year, and teens should be encouraged to be cautious every time they they get behind the wheel. Throughout the 100 Deadliest Days, continue to communicate and reinforce the rules you’ve set in place the day your teen passed the driving exam. Additionally, make sure to lead by example as you practice the same safe driving tips you’re encouraging your teen to follow.