While summer usually means vacations and trips to the beach, it’s also a dangerous time for teenagers to hit the road. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls these months the 100 Deadliest Days because teens are more likely to be involved in a deadly crash. Learn why these days are so dangerous and what you can do to help you and your teen drivers stay safe.
Why Is Summer Driving So Dangerous?
We know that a car accident is a common occurrence during the summer months, but why is summer driving more dangerous than winter? There are a few factors that stand out.
First, there are typically more drivers on the road. Summer is a favorite vacation time, especially for families, and a lot of people head out on annual summer road trips. Summer also means more teen drivers on the road because they’re not in school over the summer. Additionally, there is more construction on the roads, and obstacles like detours can cause confusion with drivers which may lead to more accidents.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day sees the average number of fatal teen driver crashes climb 15 percent when compared to the rest of the year. Teens’ inexperience in dealing with a variety of driving situations, combined with more time spent on the road during the summer, is the main factor behind this increase.
Motorcycles are another concern in the summer when riding conditions are best for much of the country. Motorcyclists that don’t have the ability to ride for several months out of the year may have weakened reflexes, especially in heavy traffic. Couple that with drivers being unaccustomed to checking for motorcycles, and those who may be driving in areas they are unfamiliar with, and an increase in motor vehicle accidents is almost inevitable.
Teen Drivers Are More Distracted
While inexperience plays a big role in the increase in teen driver crashes, it’s not the only reason. Distraction is blamed for nearly six out of 10 teen crashes. Teens already have a difficult time putting their cell phones down when they’re driving, and summer driving is no exception. Plus, you also have to add the distractions that come from having additional friends in the car.
Speeding and Time of Day Play a Role
In almost 30 percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers, speeding is a factor. Driving instructors say speeding is one of the biggest mistakes teens make when they’re learning how to drive. Plus, the clear and warm weather conditions of summer often tempt teens to speed even more.
Another factor that leads to more teen crashes is the time of day teen drivers are on the road. While teens are usually home at night during the school year, summer makes it more likely for teens to be out late at night when the risk of crash increases.
What Parents Can Do to Help
Fortunately, you can help keep your teens safe during the summer. One of the most important things you can do is teach by example. That means controlling your speed, putting down your cell phone, and minimizing risky driving behavior. You should also set clear rules for how many people are allowed in the car, how late teens can stay out, and how far they’re allowed to drive.
When it comes to eliminating cellphone distraction, you also play a key role. Fifty percent of parents admit to texting or calling their teen when they know he or she is on the road. To encourage no cellphone use in the car, preprogram navigation or music apps before heading out and make your teen put the cellphone where it can’t be reached. You should also encourage teens to call for a ride if they’re out late and feeling drowsy.
Tips For Driving Safe This Summer
There are a lot of reasons that driving in the summer is risky but there are some easy things you can do to keep yourself and other drivers safer this summer travel season.
Here are four tips to help you avoid an accident:
1. Avoid Driving When It’s Raining
Just like snow in the winter, rain in the summer leads to slick roads and dangerous driving conditions. Take extra precautions when you’re driving in a storm, or try and pull over to the side of the road until the rain has passed. And remember, hazard lights are only to be used when your car is stopped- not while you are still in motion.
2. Slow Down In Construction Zones
Like we mentioned earlier, more beautiful weather means more construction on the streets. Always drive slowly in construction zones for your safety and the safety of workers. It’s better to make a U-turn than to cut someone off and endanger those around you.
3. Don’t Text and Drive
This one might seem obvious to most of us, but it’s important to remind your teen drivers what could happen if they don’t pay attention to the road. Even built-in screens with smart phone interfaces can cause distractions.
What To Do After An Accident
No matter how careful you are, summer driving is dangerous and accidents can happen. If you’re injured in an accident, you’ll need an expert legal team on your side.