Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer for many, especially teenagers. Sadly, summer can also be the deadliest time for teenagers. The days of Memorial Day until Labor Day are also referred to as the “100 Deadliest Days of Summer” for teenagers. Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. An average of 260 teens are killed in car crashes each month during the summer . Summer creates more free time for teenagers since they are out of school and more free time means more time on the road with friends with less supervision.
It is important for parents to sit down with their teen this summer and go over the safety rules of the road and how crucial it is to follow those rules. The following are some tips to use to help keep your teen safe this summer.
- Always wear a seat belt. Let your teen know that this is not a choice. Wearing a seat belt in a vehicle is required. Many teens think they do not need seat belts and do not understand that wearing a seat belt is the smartest decision for their safety. In 2019 45% of teen drivers who died were unbuckled. Even worse, when the teen driver involved in the fatal crash was unbuckled, 9 out of 10 of the passengers who died were also unbuckled  It is important for your teen to also be a good role model to their peers and speak up.
- Do not speed. Speeding is an issue for teens and studies show that with confidence teens’ speeding behavior increases over time. Parents should monitor teens closely and be a role model for good driving behavior. Hold off on buying your teen a car of their own. Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) studies show that teens with new driver license are less likely to speed in the family vehicle versus their own. Avoiding high performance vehicles is also beneficial .
- Do not drive under the influence. Underage drinking is illegal and drunk driving laws are strictly enforced. Teens are more likely to be killed in alcohol related crash . Parents should speak their teen and discuss the consequences of drinking or drug use while driving. Parents also need to encourage their teen to call if they are ever in a situation where they should not get behind the wheel .
- Avoid distractions. Limit the number of passengers in the vehicle. Remind your teen to not be on the phone or even eat while driving. Distracted driving claimed 3,142 lives in 2020 . Driving always requires your full attention.
- Do not text and drive. This is considered the most dangerous type of distraction because it combines visual, manual, and cognitive distraction. Teach your teen to always be focused on one task which is safe driving. Always practice the same behavior in front of your teen as well. Do not be on your phone. 
- Do not drive drowsy. In 2019 drowsy driving claimed 697 lives . Drowsy driving does not have to mean you are asleep. Being drowsy itself can affect your alertness, reaction time, and attention. Teens are very busy with everything they do and tend to stay up late cutting back on their sleep. Parents should make sure their teens are getting adequate sleep. Although it is summer parents can set a curfew cutting back on nighttime driving and there are laws already in place with curfew driving times for teens.
It is important for parents to monitor and educate their teens on driving safely this summer as well as be role models for safe driving behavior. For more teen driver safety tip please visit our website here