Teen driver dangers increase during the summer
Teen driver dangers exist throughout the year, but why are they more prevalent during the warmer, lazier days of summertime? Here’s a four-word answer from our safety partner AAA.
School’s out for summer!
Overall, car crash risks increase for all age brackets in the summer due to road trips, vacations, and more drivers on the road. However, the risk that your teen driver will crash is 15% higher during the summer months.
Teen driver dangers: 100 Deadliest Days
The spike is so significant that AAA coined the term the “100 Deadliest Days” to describe the dangerous time period between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Here’s what Dr. David Yang, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Executive Director, has to say about increased teen driver dangers during the “100 Deadliest Days.”
Statistics show that teen crashes spike during the summer months because teens are out of school and on the road. The Foundation’s research found that inexperience paired with greater exposure on the road could create a deadly combination for teen drivers.
How can such a carefree, sunny season also be so deadly? Well, in winter months, teens may spend hours playing video games until their thumbs fall off. When the temp heats up, so do their desire to get out and about. With friends in the car. And they’re not experienced drivers. It could be a recipe for disaster.
Why do teen driver dangers heat up in the summer?
Below are the reasons why teen drivers and summer can be a deadly combination.
Teen driver dangers: More free time
Think about it for a second. During the school year, your teenager probably drives to and from school during the weekdays. He may visit a friend or two over the weekend, but the bulk of his driving is going to school.
When the last bell rings to herald in the highly anticipated summer break, your teen driver suddenly has a lot more time on his hands. That means he will more likely be on the road looking for fun and adventure. This added driving time is the #1 reason why teen driver dangers increase during the summer.
Teen driver dangers: More passengers
Your teen not only has more free time in the summer, but so do all of his buddies. A single teen passenger in a car with a teen driver increases the risk for a crash by 44 percent.
In 15% of fatal summertime crashes involving a teen driver, the driver was distracted by a passenger. So, extra passengers in the car is the #2 reason why teen drivers and summer can be a deadly combination.
Teen driver dangers: Inexperience
Your teen is probably comfortable driving the same route to school and back home every day. In the summer, he may want to drive to the amusement or water park. He’s not a bad driver at all, just an inexperienced one. That inexperience means he’s not always equipped to handle risks as well as older drivers.
So, while your teen driver may be tempted to hop on one of the major highways in Atlanta, it might not be the best decision if he doesn’t have much Interstate driving experience.
So, what’s a parent to do about teen driver dangers in the summer?
The facts are in. Teen drivers and summer can be a deadly combination. So, what can YOU, the concerned parent, do to help keep your teen safe? Below are a few tips from Drive Smart Georgia.
Practice driving more
Your teen might have her license, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to hop on I-85, I-285 or I-75 quite yet. Take a few practice trips with your teen on some of Atlanta’s busiest highways so that she can gain more experience and confidence before making a solo journey.
If your teen is still fearful or nervous about highway driving, consider buying driving lessons with a pro who has an extra brake in the vehicle.
Set a good example
If you don’t want your teen driver to speed, then don’t do it yourself. Your new driver is still watching everything YOU do, so set a good example by putting the phone in the glove box and obeying all traffic laws. You might not think your teen watches and listens, but he does. He really does.
Follow Joshua’s Law
Joshua’s Law was passed in the state of Georgia in 2005 to help keep teen drivers safer on the road, despite a multitude of new and ever-present dangers. So, exactly what is Joshua’s Law? What are its restrictions for teen drivers? Be sure to check out this in-depth article about the all-important law in Georgia and 16 other states. Make sure your teen driver follows it to the T.
Limit nighttime driving
The fatal crash rate for teens doubles at night. At nightfall, ordinary risks are magnified by the darkness. In Georgia, a new teen driver must have at least six hours of night driving experience before getting a driver’s license. After they have it, the state imposes a 12 midnight – 5 am curfew on drivers age 16-17.
Talk to your teen about driving distractions
While texting and talking on a cell phone are certainly driving distractions, there are many more to avoid. Eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, finding a radio station, using a navigation system, or watching a video all cause the driver to take eyes off the road. Make sure your new teen driver knows about ALL driver distractions and the possible consequences.
Monitor your teen driver
Stay engaged with your teens’ driving habits. An NSC survey found many parents are more inclined to loosen household driving rules during the summer. Don’t be that parent.
Consider a teen-parent driving agreement
It’s important to address issues like nighttime driving and the number of passengers allowed in the car. Setting up driving rules and consequences not only drives safety home, but a signed contract can also add to your own peace of mind. Check out Teen-Parent Driver Agreement from AAA.
The violations and consequences are entirely up to you. It’s important to get buy-in from your new driver. This can go a long way to ensure a safe, stress-free summer for new teen drivers and their concerned parents – LIKE YOU!
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