With the 2012 Memorial Day weekend coming to a close, everyone's mind is now turning to the upcoming summer. School will soon be out and teens will have extra time for summer work, the beach, and summer driving. However, I want to bring attention to the fact that the summer months are the deadliest on our nation's highways for teens. During the summer of 2010, according to Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) data, every weekend 45 youths died in motor vehicle crashes. The deadliest season was summer for youth in the U.S. and in July 364 youth, ages 15-20, died in traffic crashes.
Given the above, there are a few rules that if followed can help reduce the changes of teen drivers becoming a grim statistic.
Be Aware - first and foremost is to realize that young drivers are at a high risk for crashes so teens should be aware of your surroundings and use caution when driving.
Minimize Distractions - the only item a teen driver should be focused on is the task at hand, which is driving! Using cell phones, changing radio stations, and eating all distract from the task of driving a car. Take the time to perform these distracting actions before or after driving.
Minimize Driving At Night - due to a variety of factors, including reduced vision, there are teen driving curfew laws in most states, which should be observed. Parents can provide rides for teens to allow them summer nighttime activities while avoiding driving during the dark.
Limit Passengers - most states do not allow teens to drive with other teen passengers in the car, a very good safety rule. Parents can help here by providing rides when their teen is attending a group event.
Use Appropriate Speed - teens, in particular, need to pay close attention to their speed. Follow speed limits and realize that many circumstance require slower speeds to be a safe driver. There are tools available to monitor excessive speed and hard braking that parents can utlize.
No Impaired Driving - drinking limits are in place to protect both teens and others on the road. In most cases, teens obtain alcohol from adults over 21 and a large portion of those are family members.
The best way to make the teen driver experience safer is for parents to form a safe-driving partnership with their teens. Also, please check out our driving tips section for videos and more information on driving skills.