Summer Safety for Your Teens: Preventing Accidents and Injuries
The summer months are full of concerts, parties, and sports events. Unfortunately, this increase in social activity also includes an increase in danger. More teen car accidents happen in the summer than at any other time of the year. Before your kids take off to go camping with their friends, have a talk with them about the dangers of driving and steps they should take to stay safe.
The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer
Teenage drivers are far more likely to be on the road in the summer because they don’t have classes. In June, July, and August of every year, teen driver fatalities increase by as much as 26%. This time period is known as the 100 deadliest days of summer.
Teen driving accidents are more likely to result in the death of a driver, passenger, or witness. In the summer, as many as 260 teenagers are killed in car crashes each month. It’s important to make sure that your teenagers are familiar with the rules of the road and understand that they need to stay focused behind the wheel.
What Leads to Teen Injuries in the Summer?
Teenagers are young. Although they may be legally ready for a driver’s license, they are not always prepared for the responsibility.
Even if your teen has earned their license, they may not have perfected their driving skills. Ride as a passenger while your child drives; see how comfortable they are behind the wheel.
A teenager who has good driving skills may not always be able to prevent their mind from wandering. A combination of inexperience and peer pressure can encourage your child to have poor driving habits. Drivers of all ages may relax their standards after they become comfortable behind the wheel. Unfortunately, mistakes on the road can result in personal injury or fatality.
Most teenage driving accidents are caused by the same three problems:
- Speed – Teen drivers who break the speed limit simply do not have time to react to a situation on the road. Drivers should follow all posted speed limits for their own safety.
- Impairment – Driving under the influence accounts for the majority of teen car crash fatalities. In a study done in Washington, 62 out of 109 fatalities were caused by impairment. Driving while drunk or high is both illegal and dangerous.
- Distraction – Looking at your phone, changing the music, or talking with a passenger can all count as forms of distraction. Keep your eyes on the road while you are driving. Let a passenger change the music, or plan to change the station after the car has come to a stop.
How to Keep Your Kids Safe
A teen car accident can be fatal at any time of the year. Make sure that your children fully understand the risks and responsibilities of driving a car before you give them a set of keys.
Discuss the dangers of summer driving with your kids. Ask them to take extra caution on the road. Remind them that driving under the influence is illegal. Encourage them to avoid distracted driving at all costs.
Plan to communicate before and after a trip. Phone conversations and text messages account for 12% of teen car crashes. Don’t call your child while they should be driving, and discourage them from calling you or their friends. Set a standard of checking your phone before a trip begins and after the vehicle is completely stopped.
Don’t run late. Speeding is a common cause of car accidents. Help your kids leave early for classes, appointments, and parties. Budget plenty of time to drive safely to the destination.
Follow passenger laws. Many states prevent teens from driving underage passengers for up to a full year after they receive their licenses. This is for their own protection – 15% of crashes are caused by distractions from other passengers. Help your teens enforce this rule. If their friends are traveling in a group, suggest that an adult should drive instead.
Be available to drive. Offer to drive your kids to and from events and casual activities. Teens are young and easily distracted; there’s less chance of an accident if they aren’t required to be behind the wheel. You should also be ready to provide emergency transportation if something goes wrong or if your child is under the influence.
Ask them to walk. If your teenager is going to the corner store or a nearby friend’s house, encourage them to walk instead. An accident can still happen a few blocks away from home.
Model good driving habits. Your kids will learn to drive like you do. Don’t engage in any form of distracted driving, and make a point of leaving your phone unanswered while you’re on the road.
Driving a car comes with an acceptance of risk. Some teenagers may simply be too young to understand this risk. Don’t make your teen drive earlier than they are comfortable, and plan to help the majority of their transportation. Their driving skills and awareness will naturally improve as they get older.
Should your teenager be injured in a car accident this summer, don’t hesitate to contact a lawyer immediately. Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyer will help you negotiate with your insurance company or pursue a wrongful injury suit. You can rely on our accident attorneys to make sure that you get the best possible settlement. We hope you and your family enjoy a safe and accident-free summer.