With school out and summer weather on tap the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day can be filled with endless joy. But the sad fact is in those 100 days see a higher rate of fatal teen driving accidents than during the rest of the year. So emphasizing teen driving safety is of paramount importance.
There are several reasons summer can be a deadly time. First, more inexperienced drivers are on the road more often and for longer periods of time in the summer than when they are in class during the remainder of the year. And with beach blasts and road trips that typically include multiple passengers in full force there are more occasions for distraction behind the wheel.
How do you keep tragedy from striking your teenagers? Tricia Morrow, safety engineer with Chevrolet, has some thoughts for parents to help their kids stay safe out on the road this summer. Her recommendations for teen driving safety range from new technology to plain, old straight talk with your kids.
Listen to our exclusive interview with Chevy safety engineer Tricia Morrow by clicking here.
Create awareness of the dangers
Take the time to sit down with your teenagers and make certain they understand that car tragedies peak during the summer. If the whole family knows the statistics, it should prompt them to avoid behaviors that can get them into difficulty. At the same time, it will influence them to learn more about the operation of their vehicles, because in-vehicle technology offers several safety aids.
Don’t ignore basic safety systems
While newer vehicles offer advanced safety technologies, recent research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that deaths resulting from speeding and lack of seatbelt use are on the rise. Two incredibly simple things – observing speed limits and always making sure everyone is wearing a seat belt – will help you and your family stay safe. Always check to make sure the brakes in your car are well maintained.
Remind your family to respond to bad behavior
Summer means your kids might be in a car with friends without adult supervision. Encourage your children to speak up if they are in a situation where safe driving practices are not being used. Cellphone use, texting, eating and even conversations can detract from driving safety. No matter what age your children are, they must know it’s okay to ask to exit the vehicle if they see dangerous driving.
Put your phone away
It can be tempting to pick up your mobile device while in your vehicle, but don’t do it. Make use of your vehicle’s available connectivity features like Bluetooth and hands-free calling, and keep your eyes on the road. Your kids watch everything you do, so it is not enough to tell them not to use their phones in the car while you use yours. Modeling good behavior helps them develop good driving behaviors, too.
Take advantage of available tech
Having a teen driver can be extremely stressful, but thanks to some of the latest technology, it’s also filled with less uncertainty than it used to be. Some vehicles, like Chevrolets, for example, have the ability to provide a report card of driving’s behaviors and send text alerts when your teen’s vehicle has gone outside of a pre-determined area.