Did you know that summer is the most dangerous time of year for teens to be on the road? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the days between Memorial Day and Labor Day are the deadliest for drivers between ages 15-20. It makes sense, less time in school, more time for parties, going to the beach, road trips, and endless other places to drive to during the summer season. Don't let your teen become another statistic, share these safety tips with them and help them practice safe driving this summer! Remember to set a good example as well, teens pick up habits from other drivers that they observe and you don't want them to think it's ok to send a quick text or ditch their seat belt just because they're going somewhere close. These tips may seem like common sense to some, but new drivers don't have as much experience behind the wheel and may not consider things that drivers with a little more experience would consider obvious.
- Click it or ticket! Wearing your seat belt is not only a good idea, but it's also the law in most places. New drivers may think it's no big deal to hop in the car and ride down the street to the store without their seat belt just because it's close, but accidents can happen anywhere. Make sure your teen knows just how important it is to wear your seat belt. Did you know that drivers and passengers increase their risk of injury or death by up to 50% by not wearing a safety belt? Those are odds you don't want to gamble with so remind your teen of the importance of their seat belt and set a good example when you're driving as well!
- Talk To Your Teen About Car Maintenance - Again, some things that may seem obvious to experienced drivers may not be so clear to teens. Make sure your teen knows how to check their tire pressure, put air in the tires, knows how often they need an oil change and tire rotation, and knows how to check and replace the car's fluids. A problem as small as low tire pressure can cause the car to handle differently, and may even potentially lead to an accident. Make sure your teen knows exactly what to look for when it comes to their car.
- Understand the Dangers of Distracted Driving - Although teens are the least experienced drivers on the road, they are typically the most likely to use their cell phones when behind the wheel. Averting your eyes from the road for even five seconds, or the amount of time it takes to send a quick text, can lead to a major accident. Even having too many passengers in a car can be a major distraction, paying attention to friends, music, and the road all at the same time is difficult for any driver, but especially those with little experience. If your teen still has their junior operator license, make sure they are following the rules and regulations that go along with that, which can vary from state to state.
- Communicate the Danger of Drinking And Driving - Again, this may seem obvious but it's still a good idea to sit down with your teen and make sure they understand exactly how important this is. Underage drinking continues to be an issue and although there are attempts to crack down on it, teens still find access to alcohol and it's important that parents communicate how dangerous and deadly drinking and driving can be. Make sure your teen knows not to drive themselves, or get into the car with anyone that has had a drink.
- Limit Unnecessary Trips - Unless your teen has a purpose for their outing, they shouldn't be going out "just for a drive". The less time they spend on the road, the less likely they are to be in an accident.
- Make Sure Your Teen Knows Where They Are Going - If your teen is taking a trip to the beach or a concert, make sure they know exactly how to get there to prevent getting lost. If their destination is nearby, take a test drive out there with them and make sure they know exactly where they're going. If their destination is too far for a convenient test drive, make sure they have are able to get directions from a gps or cell phone mapping app.
These tips will help your teen make smart decisions and stay safe on the road this summer. Make sure they understand how important it is for them to give the road their undivided attention, distractions while driving have caused fatal accidents in the past, and the sad thing is that they are typically preventable. The sooner your teen understands these tips, the safer they will be!
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