According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the most dangerous time for drivers age 15-20. Even though summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21, for most people, mentally, it starts on Memorial Day beginning the 100 most dangerous days for teen drivers.
The joys of summer (more freedom, feeling more carefree, better weather) can unfortunately create higher risks for teen drivers. Less supervision, fewer schedules, staying out later at night with friends can lead to more risk taking and irresponsible behavior.
So what’s a parent to do?
First, if you haven’t already done so, download the Parent/Teen Driver contract from my website and execute it with your teen. That way there will be no doubt that you have communicated your expectations (seat belts, telephone/texting, impaired driving, number of passengers, speed) for the privilege of driving.
Then, you might also take the time to review and require your teen drivers to review the many safety tips the NHTSA website provides for summertime driving. These range from maintaining and servicing your car correctly, to facts specific to children and teen driver safety. Have you ever wondered whether your used car may have missed an important recall notification? NHTSA provides a link where you can find out by just
keying your VIN.
Did you know that a child’s body temperature rises 3-5 times faster than an adult?
That’s one of the reasons it is so important never to leave a child alone in a car, or leave a car accessible to children at play. Make sure your teen understands this too.
As the weather improves, so does the number of motorcycle accidents. Teens and all drivers need to be especially cautious around motorcycles. Because they are so much lighter they can stop several seconds faster than a vehicle. That means you need to increase the following distance accordingly. Recognize that running into the back of a motorcycle is much deadlier than rear ending another vehicle.
Did you know that “Every 52 minutes someone in the US dies in an impaired driving crash”?
Driving safely and defensively requires your full attention. NHTSA’s new Safer Ride app can be downloaded from the iTunes store or Google Play. It facilitates calling a friend or a taxi to be picked up and helps users identify their location if needed.
Taking the time to review these sobering facts will hopefully encourage your entire family to drive more safely and thus be able to enjoy a truly carefree summer.