Most of us look forward to the summer. It’s a time for fun in the sun, backyard barbecues and parties, lazy days at the beach or pool, road trips and vacations. Teens and young adults especially anticipate summer’s arrival, as it signals freedom from classes and the opportunity to see friends and maybe make a little cash at that summer job.
However, the freedom of summer can bring dangerous situations to young drivers. It seems like summer should be a relatively safe season to drive since there are no icy, snowy conditions to contend with. But longer days, later nights, and less daily responsibilities mixed with less experience on the road and distracted driving are a deadly combination.
Teens also tend to drive more often during the summer and have more passengers in the car traveling together. The extra opportunities and distractions increase the risk of an accident by around 44%. According to the website We Save Lives, the teen fatality crash rate spikes in summer by 26% compared with other months of the year, with an average of 260 teens killed every month.
Due to these sobering statistics, AAA has coined the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the 100 Deadliest Days on the Road to bring awareness to the dangers of the season.
Preparing Your Teen to Drive Safely in Summer
For the first few years after they become licensed, your teen still needs your advice, reminders and support. Studies have shown that when parents set driving rules and consistently enforce them, it results in significantly less risky behavior during a teen’s first few years behind the wheel.
Modeling good driving habits and reinforcing for your teen how to stay safe on the road this summer benefits not only your son or daughter, but also all the other drivers on the road.
As the summer gets into full swing, give your teen a refresher on safe driving habits and set some important ground rules. Examples include:
- Educating your teen about distracted driving. Make sure your teen understands the dangers of distracted driving. Set rules regarding leaving their cell phone in the glove box while driving, no eating in the car and set a limit on 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 your driving rules and the consequences if any of these rules should be broken. Wearing seatbelts, following speed limits, avoiding unnecessary trips, as well as absolutely restricting any sort of impaired driving should be key items in the safe driving agreement.
- Emphasize that you’re available to pick them up without judgement. Let your teen know that if he or she is not in a fit condition to drive or if they are in a position where they would be riding as a passenger with a driver who is intoxicated, that calling you should always be their first choice. Make sure they understand that their safety is far more important than any inconvenience to you.
- 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, don’t expect them to do as you say and not as you do. If you don’t take safe driving rules seriously, neither will they.
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 set in place the day your teen passed their driving exam. Additionally, make sure to lead by example as you practice the same safe driving tips you’re encouraging your teen to follow.
A premier driving school like DriveTeam promotes safe teen driving throughout the year. Our teen driving classes ensure everyone stays as safe as possible behind the wheel. Contact us today for more information.