Did you know that from Memorial Day to Labor Day each year, thousands of teens are injured or killed in driving accidents? That’s why this time period is called the ’100 deadliest days’ for teen drivers.
Year-round, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. What makes June, July and August especially dangerous? It’s simple: Teens are more likely to be driving with friends instead of alone to school and work. Teenagers also are more likely to stay out later when school isn’t in session and with good driving conditions, they may be more tempted to speed. Luckily, there are some simple things you can do as a parent to reduce the odds of your child being involved in a deadly accident. Here are some ways to keep your teenager safe this summer:
- Make seat belts mandatory. Even if they are required by state law, many teenagers don’t want to wear seat belts. Did you know that in fatal crashes involving teenagers and young adults, 60 percent were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash? Share the facts with your teenager. Make seat belt use a habit in children as soon as they’re out of a car seat and make it a family rule.
- Ban phone use while driving. We all know that texting while driving is dangerous. But even talking on the phone with a hands-free device can make it more difficult to respond to challenging driving conditions. Talk to your teenagers about the fact that texting isn’t the only dangerous activity while driving. Talking on the phone, eating, applying makeup, listening to loud music and turning around to talk to a friend in the back seat all can increase the odds of an accident.
- Limit driving at night. For teenagers, the risk of being in a deadly accident rises dramatically after the sun goes down. Night driving can be more challenging, for sure, but it’s also a time when teens are more likely to be driving to parties and with friends. Alcohol can be involved as well.
- Get them to slow down. Teach your teenager to slow down around motorcycles, pedestrians and in bad weather. Talk about the importance of driving the speed limit.
- Limit who can drive with them. Studies have shown that the more teenage passengers in a vehicle with a teen driver, the greater the likelihood of an accident.