Safe Summer Teen Driving
This is the most important time of year for parents to understand and educate their teenagers on specific driving concerns. School will be getting out for the summer, traffic patterns are changing, holiday weekends are here, and more travelers are planning vacations.
The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day are referred to as the ‘100 Deadliest Days of Summer” because the average number of fatal car accidents involving teen drivers increases by 15 percent between these dates. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), teens drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash than those aged 20 and above.
There are many reasons for these sobering statistics: lack of experience on the road, distracted driving, speeding, not wearing seatbelts, and alcohol and drug use can all play a part in teen driver car crash statistics. Combined with more drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians sharing the road in the summer, the risk of car accidents increases.
The following are some things you can do to help your teens stay safe driving this summer:
- Be an effective driving coach. Teen drivers need to gain experience with supervised practice, with the guidance of a parent or another driver who has been driving for many years. A teen’s first year of solo driving is the highest for risk of a fatal crash. Even after a teen obtains a driver’s license, parents and teens should continue to practice driving and discuss safety together.
- Restrict aimless driving trips. Based on the number of miles driven, teens have three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers. It is a good idea to limit unnecessary trips on the road for your teen driver to prevent the chances of a car accident.
- Always wear a seatbelt. According to the CDC, teens have the lowest rate of wearing seatbelts. Statistics show that a substantial number of people killed in car accidents were not wearing seatbelts.
- Use ‘Do Not Disturb’. Distracted driving is a leading cause of car crashes, especially for teen drivers. Teen attachments to smartphones lead to distractions, which increase the chance of a car accident. Put ‘Do Not Disturb’ on your smartphone and encourage your teen to do the same. Another option it to put smartphones out of reach.
- Limit the number of teen passengers. The likelihood of a car accident increases with each teen passenger in the vehicle. The number of fatalities for teens between the ages of 16 and 19 increases by a factor of five when there are two or more teen passengers, compared to when teens are driving alone.
- Restrict nighttime driving. A teen driver is at twice the risk of being involved in a fatal car accident at night. The most dangerous driving time is between 9 p.m. and midnight, as that is when over half of nighttime car crashes occur.
- Discuss the effects of alcohol and drug use. The CDC has reported that one in ten high school teens drink and drive. High school students ages 16 and over said that they had driven a vehicle one or more times over the past 30 days when they had been drinking alcohol. Research shows the influence of parental involvement with teens significantly effects the lowered rates of risky driving, traffic violations, and car accidents. Open the lines of communication with teens about importance of not drinking and driving.
There are other ways you can prepare your teen for a safe summer season. The following are some additional tips related to safety on the road:
- Stay on top of weather: Weather conditions can change in a matter of moments during the summer months. Sudden thunderstorms, downpours of rain, flash floods, and heat waves can all affect roads and traffic. Be sure to check the local weather regularly in the area your teen will be driving.
- Maintain vehicles: Any vehicle that is going to be on the road should be checked regularly, including its headlights, brakes, tires, engines, fluids, and rearview mirrors. Mechanical issues or overheating can lead to drivers being stranded or being involved in an accident.
- Be aware of road conditions: Road conditions are constantly changing, especially during the summer. Construction is more common and can cause an increase in car accidents. Road debris and fallen tree branches or electrical wires after a storm can all result in hazardous road conditions. Plan ahead if you are alerted to dangerous road conditions.
- Know current laws: Certain traffic laws change fairly often. Before your teen driver gets on the road this summer, be sure to check local laws in your state related to sharing the road with other drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
It is also advisable to have an emergency road kit stored in your vehicle at all times. Some items that should be included in a summer emergency road kit include:
- Blankets and towels
- Cell phone charger
- Drinking water
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Nonperishable snacks
- Paper towels and/or toilet paper
Keep in mind that even in during the fun summer months, it is essential to take certain precautions. The combination of changing weather conditions, a higher number of travelers and pedestrians sharing the road, more distractions, and holiday weekends all create safety concerns. The good news is you can be proactive in preparing for a safe summer season for you and your family to enjoy.
Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Those Injured in Summer Car Accidents
You can plan ahead and do your part in preventing a car accident, but other factors on the road can interrupt even the most cautious drivers. If you or your child were involved in a car accident, reach out to an experienced Highland Park car accident lawyer at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr. Call us today at 877-249-4600 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. From our offices in Highland Park, New Jersey we represent injured car accident victims in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.