October 17-23, 2021 is National Teen Driver Safety Week. During this week, the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages parents to have important conversations with their teenagers about staying safe behind the wheel.
According to the United States Department of Transportation, half of all teens will be in a car accident before graduating high school, with car crashes being the leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 18. Over 2,000 people were killed in crashes involving teen drivers in 2019. Here are some tips to share with your teenager about safe driving:
- Don’t drive while distracted. Research shows that texting and driving increases the risk of a crash 23x. Educate your teen on the dangers of distracted driving… this includes eating, applying makeup, adjusting the radio, and cell phone use.
- Limit passengers. Studies show that a teenager is 2.5x more likely to engage in risky behaviors while driving with a peer. Familiarize yourself with your state’s graduated driving law and enforce these requirements with your teen driver.
- Don’t speed. Speeding was a factor in 27% of fatal teen crashes in 2019. Closely monitor your teen to ensure safe driving speeds and behavior. Be a good role model and don’t speed.
- Wear a seatbelt. Seatbelt use is lowest among teenage drivers. In 2019, 45% of teenage driving fatalities were not wearing a seatbelt. Talk to your teenager about why seatbelts are important. Set the example by always wearing your seatbelt.
- Don’t drive while drowsy. Studies suggest drowsiness may be a factor in 10% to 20% of fatal or injury crashes. Drivers between 17 and 23 are one of the groups most prone to drowsy driving. Carefully monitor and limit your teenager’s night driving in accordance with state guidelines.
- Don’t drink or do drugs. Drinking or doing drugs is both illegal and dangerous both for teens and for anyone driving a vehicle. Remind your teenager that they should never get into the car with someone who is impaired- in addition to never drinking and driving themselves. Remind your teenager that they can call you or another trusted adult for a safe ride home if they need one.
Additionally, a new season means new hazards to be aware of while on the road. Fall brings much-anticipated sweater weather, but also comes with increased driving risks. Fall weather can be unpredictable, making it necessary to proceed with caution. While some accidents are unavoidable, most can be prevented with the proper safe driving procedures. Remind yourself of these fall safe driving tips, and share them with your teen driver:
- Kids. Fall is back-to-school season. Be aware of school zones, school busses, and new, inexperienced drivers.
- Darkness. Daylight savings time means more time to spend driving in the dark. Vision is easily compromised in the dark, so be careful while navigating the roads.
- Leaves. Leaves can fall into curbs, create piles and become a slick mess on the road. Try to stay away from slick spots and keep plenty of distance between you and the next driver.
- Deer. You are 3.5x more likely to hit a deer in November than any other time of year due to mating season. Remain cautious of wildlife on the roadside while driving, especially at night. Use your brights when possible.
- Dampness. Puddles can cause hydroplaning, making your front wheels float and lose control over steering. Drive slow while on wet roads.
- Fog and frost. Chilly fall mornings can trigger fog and frost, reducing your road perception. Use your fog lights, if available, when driving on chilly, foggy mornings.
Abiding by safe driving tips can help you and others stay safe on the road. For additional questions about safe driving with teens or during the fall months, contact us via the form below. And be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on LinkedIn for more safety tips and industry news.