As school ends and teens hit the road, it’s important to ensure safety on the streets. Despite the sunny weather and dry roads, the months between Memorial Day and Labor Day are some of the most dangerous times for driving.
Car crashes nearly double during the “100 deadliest days of summer,” according to Zero Fatalities.
With such a dangerous time approaching, it’s crucial that parents teach their young drivers some essential safety tips and lessons.
1. Set a good example when driving.
Because children learn by example, it’s important for parents to set high safety standards when driving.
Teens reported that parents had the most influence on their driving in a study conducted by safekids.org. If teens see their parents texting and driving, or driving under the influence, they will assume that is acceptable driving behavior.
To ensure teens are learning safe, smart driving habits, parents need to set a good example. Here are the basic do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:
- Do wear a seat belt—no matter how far you're driving.
- Do follow the speed limit and obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Do adjust your mirrors and seats before driving.
- Don’t drive and use your cell phone.
- Don’t drive impaired.
2. Set ground rules.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of death for teenage drivers. In 2016, more than 3,000 people were killed by distracted drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Make sure your child knows the dangers and consequences of distracted driving. Before your child obtains his or her driver’s license, set ground rules. These rules should include the following:
- No texting and driving.
- No phone calls while driving.
- No changing the radio or music while driving.
- No eating while driving.
- No driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
3. Limit the number of passengers in the car.
Distracted driving isn’t just caused by cell phone use. Distracted driving can occur when too many people are in the car, and the driver is preoccupied with conversation instead of focusing on the road. When setting ground rules, parents should limit the number of passengers their kids can transport to prevent accidents.
"Crash risk goes up when teens drive with other teens in the car," according to the Centers for Disease Control Prevention.
Until your teenager has more driving experience, limit the number of passengers to one or two.
4. Know where your kids are going.
It’s important to know where your children are going and who they are going out with. Every time they leave the house and get in the car, make sure you know where they are going, what route they are taking, and when they are expected to arrive at their destination. Upon arrival, ask your children to text or call you and let you know they arrived safely. Should an accident occur, parents will know which route to check and when to start worrying.
5. Set a curfew.
Driving at night can be dangerous—even for experienced drivers. When your child is first learning to drive, set a driving curfew and ensure they’re off the road by a pre-established time. Also, be aware of holidays when people will be more likely to be consuming alcohol. On drinking holidays, make sure your teen is not on the road and is away from drunk drivers.
Though the summer may be deadly, with some planning and smart rules, it's possible to help your teen driver be safer.
Sinclair Broadcast Group is committed to keeping our viewers accident-free, which is why we initiated the Drive Safe campaign. Steer clear of danger with our monthly tips.