Summer means a lot of free time for teenagers, which means they will be on the road more. Unfortunately, this means the likelihood of accidents increases. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the most active for teen crashes and the deadliest as well. Most transportation experts attribute this to unfamiliar or inexperienced driving as much as careless driving. They suggest that parents set ground rules for their teens to reduce accidents, and save some lives along the way. To assist in that effort, Medines Collision Center offers our own summer rules for your teenage driver.
Minimize distractions behind the wheel
Distracted driving ranks as the number one cause of accidents in the US, not just for teens, but for everyone. The want to share or respond on social media and the lure of the unread email or text appears to supersede our better judgement more often every day; and that is just the distractions from the smart phone. Distractions behind the wheel come in many forms. Many families are implementing a no cell phone policy when their teen is behind the wheel. Some are going as far as saying it needs to be both off and out of reach.
Limit passengers while your teen is behind the wheel
Distracted driving isn’t just about the smart phone. It is whenever the driver’s focus is not on the road and the task at hand. When your teen is behind the wheel of a full vehicle, it is very easy for them to get caught up in the conversation going on in the backseat. Of course, there are times where carpooling is beneficial throughout the summer but generally speaking, the fewer teens in the car, the fewer potential distractions.
Teach your teen basic vehicle maintenance
One of the best ways to avoid an accident is to keep your vehicle running properly. To do that, your teen should know a little about what can go wrong before it does go wrong. Teaching your teen about oil changes, proper tire maintenance, monitoring fluid levels, and battery life can go a long way towards keeping their vehicle running. On a similar note, your teen should learn how to fix a few things on their vehicle, should something go wrong. For example, teaching them how to change a tire, how to properly use jumper cables, and how to refill their radiator. They should also carry a roadside emergency kit to ensure they have the tools needed for those tasks.
Advise your teen to avoid adverse driving conditions
Though curfews and schedules are often more relaxed over the summer, they usually still exist. But, when it comes to making a choice between being on time and being safe, just about everyone will choose safety. For example, if a thunderstorm pops up, as they are prone to do in Louisiana, let your teen know it is okay to wait it out rather than trying to drive through the rain. Rain decreases visibility and increases the likelihood of hydroplaning. These are two things your teen driver is likely not accustomed to dealing with yet. A good guideline to follow is, “when in doubt, hang out.”
Having a driving teen can be very helpful during the summer months, but it also brings with it much responsibility. Establishing guidelines before they hit the road can greatly reduce the odds of them being in an accident. If however, an accident does happen, please contact Medines Collision Center to let us know how we can help.