Safe Summer Driving Tips for Teens
Summer is a time when teen drivers get into the largest number of fatal accidents, according to AAA. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says, “Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America. Mile for mile, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers.”
Teens drive more during the summer because they’re out of school. A recent driving study indicates that a whopping 68% of those teens surveyed have had a near-miss while driving. The study, conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), surveyed 2,294 U.S. high school students. Although 34% of teen drivers who had a near-miss blamed other drivers, and 21% blamed the weather, the facts tell the real story.
As Liberty Mutual Group details:
…When asked what they were doing in the car at the time of the incident, teens admitted to a rash of distractive or dangerous behaviors:
- Speeding: 30 percent
- Texting while driving: 21 percent
- Talking to passengers: 20 percent
- Changing songs on their MP3 player: 17 percent
Ironically, only 9 percent of teens believed excessive speed was the primary contributor, 13 percent said texting while driving was to blame, and 6 percent said their own passengers distracted them.
A Vallejo Times-Herald staff report in the San Jose Mercury News offers the following helpful advice for parents of teens:
- Restrict driving and eliminate aimless driving and only allow trips that have a definite purpose and ending point.
- Become an effective driving coach with supervised practice driving and continue driving with teens even after they have gotten their license.
- Limit the number of teen passengers and their teen’s own time as a passenger as teen crash rates increase with each teen passenger in the vehicle.
- Restrict night driving when a teen driver’s chance of being involved in a deadly crash doubles.
- Establish a parent-teen driving agreement, putting rules and guidelines in writing.
AAA also suggests that parents know and understand their teens, be responsible role models, find a quality driving school, make a smart vehicle and insurance choice for teens, set a time every week to discuss safe driving, encourage teens to get enough sleep to prevent drowsy driving, and eliminate distractions like cell phones and text messaging.