Summer is fun, but it also poses serious risks for teen drivers. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is known as the 100 Deadliest Days for teen drivers. The risk of fatal collisions dramatically increases during this months. According to AAA, 30% of all teen traffic accident deaths occur during this period — that's roughly six tragic deaths every day. When compared to adult drivers, teens are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident.
There are several reasons for the elevated risk. For starters, teen drivers often travel in large groups, stay out late at night, and drive too fast. They also have far less experience behind the wheel and may make poor decisions as a result. As a parent, you can play a vital role in reducing your teen's risk level with these high-impact tips to protect your teen.
1. Perform a Safety System Check
Help your teen stay safe by taking their vehicle to a mechanic for a thorough safety system check before summer arrives. Your auto technician will go over every safety system in the vehicle, including airbags, tire pressure monitors, anti-lock brakes, and even windshield wipers to ensure the components all work as expected and perform repairs as needed.
With all these systems working correctly, teach your teen how to correctly use and maintain each one. Remind your teen to never rely on the safety systems alone — for example, just because the newest cars have automatic safety technology doesn't mean that they can take their hands off the wheel.
2. Install and Monitor a Dash Camera
Dashboard cameras installed at the front and rear of your teen’s vehicle have the potential to reinforce good driving habits and prevent reckless activities on the roadway. Your teen will be better behaved when they know you're watching.
“Dash cams can go beyond simply capturing information about a given situation on the road; they can also serve as learning tools — when the footage is reviewed regularly,” said Chuck Hawks, CEO of Teen Driving Solutions School, Inc. “They can give a parent the chance to praise as well as correct a new driver’s practices.”
He further stresses the importance of dash cams as a peer pressure deterrent, as teens can simply remind their friends that the cameras are rolling and reckless driving will come with serious consequences. Consider reviewing the footage on a daily basis to touch base with your teen about their overall driving habits.
3. Promote the Importance of Driving Without Distractions
Although they will never admit it, teens look to their parents for guidance about driving. You are a powerful role model for your teen, so make sure to put away your cell phone and resist distractions while you are behind the wheel. Your teen will notice!
Furthermore, remind your teen that only a second of distraction can result in a serious collision, and cell phones are the biggest distractor. Researchers have found that looking away from the road for just two seconds can double the risk of crashing.
4. Enroll Your Teen in a Defensive Driving or In-Car Training Course
Online and in-person defensive driving courses teach your teen the skills they need to avoid collisions. Throughout the course, teen drivers learn how to identify and deal with potential hazards on the roadway. After the course, enroll your teen in in-car training sessions to reinforce the defensive driving techniques in real-life situations with professional driving instructors.
When you actively prepare your teen to drive safely, you can reduce their risks during the 100 Deadliest Days — and all year long. To get started, explore DriversEd.com's convenient online driving courses today.