Teen Drivers: Five Tips for Summer Safety
Sadly, the summer can be quite dangerous for our teen drivers. According to AAA, over the course of the summer months, an average of ten (10) people die from motor vehicle accidents that involve teen drivers each day.
With that knowledge, what can concerned parents do to help protect their teen drivers, but still allow them to enjoy the summer? We thought it’d be best to put together five tips that should help you and your partner express the need for safety to your teen driver before they head out on the open road – so everyone can stay happy, safe, and relaxed.
Reevaluate “Piling In”
Over 20% of teen drivers are more likely to drive in groups – with three or more teens inside of a car. While this may seem like a good thing, because it helps eliminate the number of less experienced drivers on the road, it’s actually the opposite. When teens all pile into one vehicle, they’re actually increasing the chance of a motor vehicle accident by over 40%. If you know that your son or daughter is a new driver, and they may need some time to adjust to driving on their own, it may be best to talk to them about limiting the number of passengers they have in their car – or restricting them to none at all. In Georgia, the law requires teen drivers to wait six months until they can have a peer-passengers in their vehicle.
Limit Those Late-Night Hangs
Studies have shown that over 70% of all teen drivers report that they stay out later in the summer than they do during the school year itself. Furthermore, almost 50% of teen drivers are more likely to drive late at night during the summer, compared to the 5% who drive late at night when school is in session. Nobody likes to be the first one to leave a party, we get it – but if you know that your teen isn’t the best behind the wheel when it gets dark outside, it may be a good idea to put a limit on what time they can stay out until.
Resist The Urge to Text Them
It’s common for a parent to want to check on their child, to make sure that they’re safe and not in harm’s way – and now, due to the advances of modern technology, it’s easier than ever. Just a quick text to your teenager and you know where they are, who they’re with, and what they’re doing. But with that said, a recent survey found that teen drivers say the majority of the time they have to make a decision on texting and driving, it’s because they’ve received a text from a parent.
Texting or talking on the phone – coupled together with the inexperience of a new driver is a true recipe for an accident. Instead, try to make an agreement with your teen that sets a rule for everyone in your family against any forms of distracted driving. If they see you taking it seriously, chances are they will too.
Make Sure Their Car is Tuned Up
Sometimes motor vehicle accidents aren’t due to any reckless behavior, but instead, they’re caused by the lack of maintenance to the vehicle itself.
Before your teen driver takes their keys and sprints out the door, make sure that their tires, brakes, and engine are all working properly. Make sure that they have all the necessary fluids, that they have a spare tire, and a road-flare for emergencies. You can even check to see if there are any recalls on their vehicle and replace any at-risk parts beforehand.
Always Have Backup Options Available
If you don’t feel comfortable letting your teen driver hit the pavement on their own, but you don’t want to restrict their freedom, look into possible backup options. By using a ride-share app like Uber or Lyft, you can see where your teen is, you can make sure they arrive safely, and most of all, you can guarantee they’re not pulling the old “say-I’m-going-here-but-really-I’m-going-somewhere-else” trick that we all have pulled on our parents in the past.
Does your teen not call you to pick them up from a friend’s house or a party because they don’t want to be seen with their Mom or Dad? Typical – but maybe they’d be more open to getting picked up safely by a relative or a family friend. Older siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, or even a friends’ parents may be a great alternative option to providing your teen with a safe right home at the end of the night.
Is your teen driver doing great in some areas, but lacking in others? Speak to your partner about providing them with additional driving lessons. There are dozens of places throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia that offer driving lessons, and spending a couple of hundred dollars now to achieve some peace of mind later is certainly worth it.
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