The “100 deadliest days of summer” for Washington drivers and other states begin on Memorial Day and runs through Labor Day. The excitement of the approaching warmer months and time off from school means that teen drivers may spend an extended amount of time behind the wheel. During the summer months, car accidents and fatalities significantly increase, and the following information can help keep teens and other loved ones safe during this season.
Set clear expectations
Discuss the importance of safe driving with your teen, and set some ground rules for their conduct as a driver. Consider creating and signing a driving contract with your teen to help them stay accountable for responsible and safe driving behaviors.
The costs of unsafe driving
Teens do not always make a connection between their behaviors and the potential for dangerous consequences. Help educate young drivers about the risk to their own lives and also the lives of other drivers and passengers on the road. Inform teen drivers about the legal consequences of driving violations, which can be costly and severe. The financial burden can include fines, towing costs, legal fees, car repairs, increased insurance premiums and a potentially suspended license.
Discuss distracted driving
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, the nation experienced 14,386 motor vehicle accidents daily, or one crash every six minutes. Among teen drivers, distracted driving is a leading cause of car accidents. Causes of distraction include:
- Talking on the phone
- Interacting with passengers
- Eating or applying makeup
Encourage teens to focus on the road to stay safe for their protection and not expose other drivers to danger.
Many parties and celebrations happen during the summer, and drivers operating a car while under the influence of alcohol or drugs remain a significant threat. Discuss the dangers and potential consequences with your teen driver, and encourage them to make plans to have a safe ride home if they wind up in a situation where they are not sober to drive.
Speeding contributes to a significant number of fatal accidents involving teen drivers. Have a conversation with your teens about the risks and dangers of exceeding the speed limit, losing control of the car or not having time to react in a dangerous situation on the road. Discuss the potential for deadly consequences and help them understand the importance of cautious and responsible driving.
The “100 deadliest days of summer” pose increased risks to inexperienced drivers and others on the road. Staying vigilant and having productive conversations with your teen driver can endure a summer filled with joy instead of tragedy.