While adults rarely feel the same thrill, the arrival of summer means so many things to children and teens across the country. Many teens see summer as a chance to work and earn money, while others see it as an opportunity to be more independent and have fun with their friends. Summer means freedom, especially to the teenagers with a driver’s license and access to a car.
Before you hand over the keys for your teenager’s day trip to the beach, there’s something you should know: right now, we are in the midst of what AAA calls the “100 deadliest days for teen drivers,” spanning from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Each summer, hundreds of people are killed in accidents involving teenaged drivers, and many more are injured.
Why Are Teenaged Drivers Especially At Risk in Summer Months?
In 2013, there was a 43% increase in accidents involving at least one teen driver. While this can be generally attributed to the fact that more teens are on the road than in school during summer, teens are more likely than adults to be involved in a car accident for several reasons, including:
- Teens are more likely to be distracted by non-driving activities, including texting, other passengers, and other distractions in and out of the car.
- Teens are more likely to perform illegal maneuvers in their car, either intentionally or unintentionally. This may include making improper turns, confusion with right-of-way at intersections and traffic circles, and other simple mistakes.
- Teens may be more likely to take risks like tailgating or speeding, simply because of how their brains are developing. Many studies have shown that the area of the brain that weighs consequences and long-term risk is not fully developed in teens, which can lead to poor decision-making and impulsivity.
Parents: Stay Involved in Your Teen’s Driving
While your teenager may have been driving without incident for several months, take some time to drive with him regularly to ensure that he is maintaining the good habits you taught him from the start. Over time, even our own driving habits slip, so regularly “checking in” with a ride-along can help. This doesn’t mean just speaking to him about texting and speeding, either—make sure the basics like seatbelt use are second-nature.
What do you do to ensure that your teens are driving safely? Share your tips and tricks in the comments below, or let us know your best ideas by sharing them with us on Facebook!