Summer is a perilous time for teenage drivers to be on the road. In fact, the weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day are called the “100 deadly days of summer”. If you have a teen driver in your family, now can be a crucial time to talk to them about safe driving and how to protect themselves when they are on the road.
Wearing a seatbelt is a fast, free way to save a life. Unfortunately, teens have lower seat belt use rates, which contributes to a higher risk of severe injury or death in a crash.
Talk to your teen and remind them to buckle up, whether they are in the driver’s seat or riding in the back seat. Highlight that seat belts keep them safer when other drivers on the road make mistakes and bad decisions that they have no control over.
Help them see the risks
Teen drivers can get defensive when parents start talking about safe driving. But if your teen starts to tune you out when you talk about how big of a responsibility driving is, help them see why you are nervous.
You might point out things like:
- Driver inexperience is a leading cause of teen crashes
- About 30 percent of fatal teen driving crashes happen during the summer in New York
- Having teen passengers in the car (which is more common in the summer) increases crash risk
These facts and statistics can illustrate why parents are worried about teen drivers. Being especially focused on safe driving in the summer can help teens reach their destination safely.
Setting boundaries for your teen can be crucial this summer. You might restrict them from driving late at night. You might limit where they can drive, like to and from a summer job or to nearby friends’ houses.
Tell them to never, ever get into a car when they know the driver has been drinking or using drugs. Tell them if they have no other way to get home to call you and you will come get them without questions or potential punishment.
Another option parents can consider is changing curfew rules. Instead of a traditional curfew, it could help to give them a “leave time” curfew, which is when they must leave for home. This adjustment can help teens calm down and make safe decisions on the drive home.
Every parent worries about their teen drivers. These tips can help parents keep their teens safer this summer.