Graduation time is here! June can be an exciting time of the year for many teens and their families. While graduation is an important benchmark and a stepping stone for the future, it is also the perfect time to remind your teen drivers about the importance of safe, distraction-free driving.Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among American teenagers. The risk of an accident is four times higher for teens 16 to 19 years old compared to older drivers. Fortunately, as a parent, you can make a difference in keeping your teens safe on the road.So before your teens get too busy with graduation season, talk to them about the importance of driving safety and ways they can have an accident-free graduation. Here are five driving safety concerns you should talk with your teen about.
Excessive speeding is not only costly, it is also one of the top five driver-related errors for teenage driving involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes. Speeding not only worsens the severity of an accident, it also decreases the amount of time drivers have to react to unexpected circumstances, thus increasing their risk of an accident. Remind your teen that even if they are running late, speeding is unacceptable and the amount of time and money wasted if you are pulled over and ticketed is not worth it.
Studies have shown that fatal crashes involving young drivers are much more likely to occur when other teenagers are in the car. So talk to your child about limiting the number of teenage passengers in their car to one or two passengers, especially if they are driving at night.
According to studies, more than half of teenage motor vehicle crash deaths occur on the weekend between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Driving at night is not only more difficult for the driver because of decreased visibility, it is also more dangerous because there is an increased risk of driving near an intoxicated motorist. While most graduation ceremonies and parties occur in the evening, you should always minimize the amount of time your teen spends on the road at night. But if night-time driving is unavoidable, always have your teen call or text to check-in, once they have arrived safely at their final destination.
While constant communication with your teen driver is key to keeping your child safe during graduation season, you should remind your teen to always safely pull-over to the side of the road before they send a text or make a phone call. Using a cell-phone while driving is not only illegal in many states, it also significantly increases the risk of a fatal car accident.
While you should always encourage your child to abstain from illegal activities such as drinking or doing drugs, you should also be realistic and talk to your teen about what to do if they find themselves in a situation where either they or their ride is unfit to drive. Remind them that they should never drive even if they’ve only had one drink. Consider providing your teen with extra cash just in case they need to take a cab.
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