April, May and June are the time of the year where high school students celebrate by attending proms and graduation parties. As these times of celebration near, it provides a great opportunity for families to have conversations around celebrating safe as their teen drivers get behind the wheel.
Automobile crashes continue to be the leading cause of death among teenagers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more teens are involved in fatal crashes between 6 pm and midnight than any other time of the day.
With April being Distracted Driving Awareness Month and May being Global Youth Traffic Safety Month, this time of year provides a great opportunity for families to talk about the following tips for being safe on the roadways.
Connect with other parents – Speak directly with any parents supervising after-parties your teen will attend since some parents may allow underage drinking.
Talk about (not) drinking/doing drugs – According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD), 74% of kids turn to their parents for guidance on drinking. Talk to your teen about dealing with peer pressure, the dangers/repercussions of underage drinking and driving, using illegal substances, and contacting you for a ride in situations involving drugs and alcohol.
Offer options for rides – If a group insists on traveling together to prom and numerous graduation parties, talk to other parents about hiring a limo. That way no one gets behind the wheel. If it’s not in the budget, offer to drive them yourself, or research other public transportation options in your community.
Have the party come to you – Plan your own, adult-supervised, drug/alcohol free after-party at your house, school or local community center.
Set the example – You can’t always be in the car, but you can keep safety top-of-mind by demonstrating and enforcing habits like wearing a seat belt, not using a cell phone while driving, following the speed limit and driving 2N2® – 2 eyes on the road, 2 hands on the wheel.
Groom before you zoom – Before it’s time to go, take one last look in the mirror and make sure you’re looking good so nothing takes your focus off the road while driving.
Get your beauty rest – Since many parties last until early morning, make sure you get plenty of sleep leading up to the big day, or ask your parents to pick you up so you and your friends don’t have to drive tired. Fatal car crashes involving teens happen significantly more at night.
Set limits – Put a limit on the number of friends you ride with. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the risk of fatal crashes increases with each passenger. And if riding with friends, remind them to put their phones away and turn the music down.
Don’t Drink/Do Drugs and Drive – Drinking before the age of 21 is illegal, and alcohol and driving should never mix no matter your age. This goes for using drugs and other illegal substances as well.
Seatbelts are the perfect accessory – A little wrinkle in your dress, tux or graduation gown is hardly worth not buckling up for. Buckling your seatbelt can save your life and keep you from getting seriously injured. Plus, it’s the law!
Find these tips and more on the State Farm®teen driver safety page, and always encourage your teen to make positive choices while driving.