While your teen is likely thrilled to obtain their driver’s license for the first time, it’s important to take this time to educate them on safe driving. Studies from the National Safety Council show that the most dangerous time of a teen driver‘s life is the first 12 months of having their license. In fact, this risk increases in the summer for a number of reasons. Find out why below along with tips to help you encourage safe driving.
Set boundaries and curfews despite the season. While the school year is full of activities and curfews, things tend to loosen up around summer, leading to less restriction and more time out late with friends. One negative factor is that teens get less sleep, leading to more driving when tired (which some studies indicate is equally as dangerous as driving drunk). According to AAA research, the chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles specifically for teens when driving at night, with more than half of nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.
Remind them of the importance of the speed limit. While speeding in the warm summer air is tempting, one-third of all yearly traffic deaths in the U.S. are associated with driving over the speed limit. Adjusting speed for the current conditions and assuming hazards that may not be detectable yet can reduce the chance of accidents. I recommend having your teen place an object on their wrist such as a rubber band or bracelet), or on the steering wheel to remind them to look at their speedometer on a regular basis!
Put away your phone. While many parents preach the dangers of texting and driving to their teens, it isn’t convincing when you continue to use your phone yourself. It really can wait! The increase in distracted driving cases has greatly increased alongside the rise in popularity of smartphones. A common consequence of distracted driving is drifting off the side of the road or out of your lane, which causes drivers to overcorrect and in the worst of cases, flip their cars.
Take three seconds to fasten your seatbelt. This is another case of leading by example and not downplaying the importance of a seatbelt at all times. In addition to avoiding a citation, using lap/shoulder belts decreases your risk of being killed or seriously injured in a crash 45 to 50 percent.
Be open to honesty. Though the legal drinking age in Georgia is 21, it’s not uncommon for some teenagers to bend the rules. Let them know that in the event of them going against the law and drinking, it’s better to simply call for a ride than to risk getting on the road. This can not only save them from the possibility of getting a costly underage DUI, but from hurting themselves or others. Being grounded is better than being in jail, or worse.
The crash risk for young drivers’ does not begin decreasing significantly until age 25. Do your part by reminding your teen to always be mindful of driving safely. To contact a reputable lawyer in Georgia, contact me, Mickey Roberts. Be sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for traffic law updates and news.