5 Ways Summer Is a Dangerous Time for Teenage Drivers
Summertime can be an extremely dangerous time for teenage drivers. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 1,000 people were killed in auto accidents that involved a teenage driver between Memorial Day and Labor Day of 2016.
The time period between these two holidays has become known as the 100 deadliest days for teenage drivers. Why do teen driving accidents spike in the summertime, and what can you do to protect your teenager?
1. Increased Time on the Roads
Once school is out, your teenager obviously has a lot more time to spend on the road. The more time he spends driving, the more likely he is to be involved in a car accident.
2. More Nighttime Driving
Since your teenager no longer has homework to worry about in the evening, he’s much more likely to go out with friends instead – and probably stay out later. Driving in low light conditions can be dangerous for teenagers who haven’t had a lot of nighttime driving practice.
According to the study referenced above, 36 percent of motor vehicle fatalities that involved teen drivers occurred between the hours of 9:00 pm and 5:00 am.
3. Drinking and Driving
Unfortunately, many car accidents involving teenagers also involve alcohol. Make sure your teenager is aware of both the risks and the consequences of driving while intoxicated, as well as the risks of riding in a car with a friend who may be intoxicated.
4. Speeding is an Issue
Speeding is also a contributing factor to teen-related accidents in the summertime – 29 percent of motor vehicle fatalities that involved teen drivers were speed-related.
5. More than One Factor
There may not be just one factor that leads to an increase in auto accidents involving teens in the summer months. But put a few of them together – for instance, a teenager who has had a few beers and is speeding down the highway in the middle of the night – and the odds of an accident can increase exponentially.
How Parents Can Keep Their Teen Drivers Safe During the 100 Deadliest Days
One excellent resource for both you and your teenage driver is Keys 2 Drive: The AAA Guide to Teen Driver Safety. It can be a great starting point for a conversation with your teen – and talking with your teenager early and frequently about the dangers of summer driving is important.
While the phrase “100 deadliest days” might conjure up images of some type of horror movie or science fiction novel, it actually references a very real and very disturbing phenomenon.
Indeed, the 100 deadliest days references the timeframe running from Memorial Day through Labor Day, a period that typically sees the average number of fatal car accidents involving teens jump by an astounding 15 percent when compared with the rest of the year.
As to why the rate of fatalities among teen drivers is so much higher during the summer, experts have identified a host of potential causes, including more nighttime driving, more passengers in vehicles, more temptation for dangerous maneuvers given ideal weather conditions, and more temptation to talk and text about plans owing to later curfews.
Interestingly enough, a recent survey by Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions reveals that parental driving behaviors might also be playing a role in this deadly phenomenon.
Specifically, after surveying 2,500 teens and 1,000 parents, the researchers found the following:
- 62 percent of parents confessed to using their smartphones to talk or check incoming calls while driving
- 55 percent of parents confessed to using apps while driving
- 50 percent of parents confessed to calling or texting their teens while they know they are driving, with roughly 33 percent admitting to wanting a prompt response
As discouraging as this is, experts indicate that there are some simple steps parents can take to help make this a safe summer for their teen drivers:
- Set a good example by keeping smartphones turned off or out of reach, obeying the speed limit and wearing a seat belt
- Help them gain more experience by having them drive you more places
- Discuss safe driving practices and establish expectations with a parent-child driving agreement
- Stress that it’s okay to take a cab or use a rideshare company if they are feeling fatigued or have consumed any intoxicating substance
- Limit smartphone interactions so that that they can focus on safe driving
Consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you’ve suffered serious injuries or lost a loved one owing to the negligence of another motorist. Together, you can discuss your options for securing both justice and peace of mind.
How New Technology Can Help Your Teen Drive Safe
You remember the day your child first crawled. You also can recall when they took their first steps. From there, you taught them how to conquer the stairs, ride a bike and even held their hand as they gave skates a try. Now your child is transforming into a young adult. They are learning to drive and will be ready to get their license soon.
While you are proud of this achievement and will enjoy not having to shuffle them to every practice and activity, you have your concerns. Car accidents happen all the time. You want to give your child the best advantages possible to help them avoid being involved in a crash. You’ve heard about the hazards of technology, but it could also be on your side.
Cars Equipped with Technology
Car companies have been updating cars with technology each year. Some of these upgrades include safety features. If you are planning on buying a car for your teen, you may want to look into these options. If your car has these features, make sure that your child understands how to use them.
Some safe technology features in cars include:
- Backup sensors and cameras
- Automatic braking
- Parking assist
- Restrictive driving mode settings
Phone Technology for Drivers
The first rule you have for your teen will probably be not to text and drive. With distracted driving an issue, this is a good rule. However, there are some smartphone apps out there that encourage safe driving.
These apps have safety features that can:
- Notify emergency contacts if something happens
- Send messages to parents about unsafe driving habits
- Block calls and text messages
- Allow touch-free read and response options
- Track road conditions
- Share driver location and routes traveled
Before you let your teenager loose on the streets of Milwaukee, look into these technology options in order to enhance their safety and secure your peace of mind.
See our car accident service page to get help now!
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