“100 deadliest days” and teen drivers
The “100 deadliest days” is the most dangerous of the year for teen drivers. From Memorial Day to Labor Day, there is a sharp increase in automobile fatalities involving teen drivers.
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 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!
AAA explains the dangers of “100 deadliest days”
The spike in teen driver car crashes is so significant that our partner 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 rise during the “100 deadliest days”?
Below are the reasons why teen drivers and summer can be a deadly combination.
More free time during the “100 deadliest days”
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 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 during the “100 deadliest days” is the #1 reason why teen driver dangers increase during the summer.
More passengers during the “100 deadliest days”
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 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.
How can parents reduce risks during the “100 deadliest days?
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 those driving skills
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 during the “100 deadliest days.”
If your teen is still fearful or nervous about highway driving, consider buying extra driving lessons with a pro who has an extra brake and accelerator in the vehicle.
Limit nighttime driving during the “100 deadliest days”
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.
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, especially during the “100 deadliest days.”
Avoid all distractions during the “100 deadliest days”
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.
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. Setting a good example is extremely important during the “100 deadliest days.”
Sign a teen driver-parent agreement during the “100 deadliest days”
During the “100 deadliest days,” 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 this 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!
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 “100 deadliest days.”
Don’t be that parent.
CLICK HERE get our free newsletter and teen driving tips for parents!
CLICK HERE to read more Drive Smart Georgia blog posts.
- Drivers Ed discounts and coupon codes for 2019 summer classes
- Georgia permit test: How to prepare and pass!
- Advice for nervous parents of new teen drivers
- New apps help worried parents track teen drivers