A Safer Summer for Teen Drivers
The beginning of summer marks the 100 deadliest days of the year for teen drivers. Between 1996 and 2006, almost 12,000 teenagers died behind the wheel during the summer months, an average of 13 per day.
The experts at Tire Rack Street Survival, a national nonprofit teen-driving program, note that experience behind the wheel is vital, but there are still steps parents and young drivers can take to reduce risks. Among them:
These include limiting teen driving during high-risk situations such as at night and in inclement weather, not allowing your teen to ride with a young driver who has less than one year's driving experience, and recognizing that the more teens who are in the car, the higher the level of distraction.
Know the route.
Have a clear understanding of where your teen is driving, whom they are with and the route they are taking. Confirm a time to check-in so they can update plans.
Maintain visual awareness.
Remind your teen to look 10 seconds down the road and to leave at least three seconds of following distance between cars.
Make time to talk.
Set aside time weekly to talk with teens and get a full understanding of their schedule. Empower them to get out of a bad situation. Set up a code, like "Mom, I have a headache," which alerts you they need to be picked up if they find themselves in an unsafe situation.
Examples are key.
Practice what you preach. Don't talk on your cell phone or text while driving. Remind your teen to keep hands off the center of the steering wheel and feet off the dash. Ensure that everyone in the car is wearing a seat belt.
Run a quick check.
Complete a quick vehicle maintenance check with your teen monthly.
To find out when and where Tire Rack Street Survival schools are taking place or to request one in your area, visit www.streetsurvival.org or call 864-329-1919.