Your teen has been counting down the days until summer vacation. However, summer isn’t just associated with warmer weather, longer days, and backyard barbeques. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety refers to the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day as the “100 deadliest days,” pointing to data that shows a 14% increase in fatal crashes involving teen drivers when compared to the rest of the year. With schools on hiatus for the summer months, more young and inexperienced drivers are on the road, which leads to higher crash rates.
Our car accident lawyers are committed to driver safety. That’s why we host safe driving seminars at local high schools and support the Citrin Safety Foundation. We also want parents to take a proactive role in encouraging safe driving. Below, we discuss some simple ways you can keep your young drivers safe this summer.
How to Talk to Teenagers About Responsible Driving
If you are the parent of a teen driver, one of the most important things you can do before handing over the keys is to talk to them about responsible driving. And even if it doesn’t seem like they’re listening, your young driver is noticing your driving habits. The examples you set and the expectations you discuss can play a huge role in keeping your teen safe on the road. In fact, according to a study by Safe Kids Worldwide, when parents and teens discuss rules for driving, those teens are less likely to behave recklessly while behind the wheel.
So how can you help your teen stay safe on the road this summer? Here are a few important topics to cover when you have that talk.
Nearly six out of ten teen crashes are caused by distracted driving, according to AAA. While phones are the most common issue, loud music, food, and other people in the vehicle can also distract drivers. Stress the importance of putting away their smartphone when they get behind the wheel. In many states, including Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi, it is against the law for teenagers to use a mobile device or text while driving.
Talk about driving with friends in the car and the importance of keeping everyone safe. You may want to set rules about phone use, including hands-free use, and how many passengers are allowed in the vehicle when your teen is driving.
RELATED ARTICLE: Teen Texting and Driving: Education About Risks Works
Make sure your teen knows that seatbelts are non-negotiable, both for them and their passengers. In 2015, 60% of teens who died in car accidents were not wearing a seatbelt. This one small action goes a long way in keeping everyone safe.
Driving when it’s dark takes extra attention and practice. During the “100 deadliest days” of summer, there is a 22% increase in the average number of nighttime crashes per day involving teen drivers. Ask your teen about their comfort level driving in the dark and talk about what they can do to stay alert and make their car as visible as possible. And if your teen isn’t comfortable driving at night, offer to give them a ride.
Drunk and Drugged Driving
Alabama, Florida, and Mississippi all have zero tolerance policies for impaired teen driving, whether they’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Don’t assume that just because it’s the law, your teen already knows this. Talk to them candidly about drunk driving laws and how small amounts of alcohol can impact their driving—even if they have a blood-alcohol content below the adult legal limit.
You may also want to talk about what to do if your teen is unable to drive due to impairment and the importance of not riding with other drivers who have been drinking or using drugs. Brainstorm with them about what they should do in these situations—whether that’s calling you for a ride, getting a rideshare, or spending the night somewhere safe.
RELATED ARTICLE: Teen Drinking and Driving Falls by Half
Driving is a privilege, not a right, and it’s your job as a parent to emphasize this with your teen. Make sure they know that driving comes with a large amount of responsibility. As a driver, they are not only responsible for the safety of everyone in their car, but also the safety of every other driver, passenger, pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist that crosses their path.
You should always insist that your young driver follow Alabama’s graduated license program. If a teen has an intermediate or restricted license, they must follow certain rules:
- No more than one non-family member in the car with them.
- No driving between 12:00 am and 6:00 am, unless they are with a parent, driving to-and-from work, a religious event, or a school-sponsored activity, or it’s an emergency.
- No use of handheld electronic devices while driving.
Teens that violate these rules may lose their license or face additional driving restrictions.
General Safety Tips
Make sure your teen knows how to use all of their vehicle’s standard equipment, such as turn signals, windshield wipers, hazard lights, parking brakes, and headlights. Talk to them about defensive driving, or being aware of potential threats and knowing how to avoid crashes safely. You should also discuss what to do in case of an accident or another emergency.
When Accidents Happen, the Team at Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys Is Here for You
No matter how well parents prepare their teens for the responsibility of driving, accidents can happen. If your teen driver has been injured in a car accident, you need an injury lawyer who will fight for fair compensation while offering the emotional support you deserve.
Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys has earned a powerful reputation, due to our outcomes and personalized service. We’ve recovered hundreds of millions in compensation for our clients and helped them rebuild after the trauma of a car crash. We can help you understand your legal options and assess the value of your claim.
We also give our clients time and space to focus on their child’s wellbeing, while we navigate their claims and fight for what they’re owed. After all, what’s most important in the aftermath of a crash is that you’re able to be there for your family.
AAA: Teen-driver involved crashes kill 10 people a day during 100 deadliest days (2018, May 30). AAA NewsRoom. Retrieved from https://newsroom.aaa.com/tag/100-deadliest-days/
New teen drivers three times as likely to be involved in a deadly crash (2017, June 1). AAA NewsRoom. Retrieved from https://newsroom.aaa.com/2017/06/new-teen-drivers-three-times-likely-involved-deadly-crash/
Walker, L. (2016, May 16). You can keep your teen drivers safer. Here are 7 ways that can help. Safe Kids Worldwide. Retrieved from https://www.safekids.org/blog/you-can-keep-your-teen-drivers-safer-here-are-7-ways-can-help
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.