For many teens, summer is the most exciting time of year. They finally get a break from school, go on road trips, and have more freedom to do what they want. Unfortunately, it is also the most dangerous time of year. The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is often called the "100 Deadliest Days" for teen drivers. Let’s discuss why this time of year is so dangerous and what you can do to stay safe on the road during the summer months and holidays.
Summer Vacation, Accidents, and Teen Drivers
The "100 Deadliest Days" are so named because of the significant increase in fatalities involving teen drivers during this time. According to research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 7,000 fatal crashes involving teens between Memorial Day and Labor Day occurred in a ten-year span. That's more than seven lives lost every single day. In fact, young drivers between 16 and 17 years old are three times more likely to be involved in deadly crashes than adults.
The Dangers of Summer
So, why is this time so dangerous for teen drivers? There are several reasons. For one, teens are out of school and have more time to drive. This means that they are on the road more frequently and for longer periods. Additionally, during the summer months, there are more people on the road in general. This increases the likelihood of accidents. Finally, teen drivers are more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as drug or alcohol use, speeding, and distracted driving, all of which dramatically increase the risk of a crash.
7 Tips to Safely Get Through the Summer
1. Limit Distractions
As a young driver, minimizing distractions can help you stay alert and focused and allow you to pay full attention to the road. When driving, put your phone on silent mode, avoid eating or drinking, and maintain a clear view of the road by cleaning your windshield, side mirrors, and rearview mirrors.
2. Take Regular Breaks
Driving long distances, especially during the summer months, can be exhausting. Be sure to take frequent breaks to avoid fatigue and stay alert on the road if you’re on a road trip. When driving with friends, take turns behind the wheel to limit the amount of time you're driving and allow others to drive.
3. Watch Your Speed
Driving over the speed limit can result in traffic tickets, loss of license, or accidents. To avoid this, obey speed limits, and be mindful of areas where children may be playing or are known to be crossing, particularly in residential areas.
4. Stay Sober
The summer months tend to come with social gatherings and parties, but as a driver and as an individual under 21, you must avoid drinking–especially when you plan on driving. Driving under the influence of even one drink can lead to road accidents that can result in severe injuries, motor vehicle-related deaths, or even legal consequences. If you plan to go to a social gathering, make plans to have a designated driver or arrange transportation with family or a ride-sharing service.
5. Stay Alert and Vigilant
Stay focused on the road while driving and limit the number of people in your car. Driving with too many people can increase the chances of distraction and can lead to accidents. Keep your ears open for emergency vehicle sirens, and look for cyclists, pedestrians, and other drivers who may not follow traffic rules.
6. Practice Defensive Driving
Driving defensively is an excellent way to keep yourself and others safe on the road. Be cautious when changing lanes or turning, expect the unexpected, and always have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. Additionally, reduce your speed and always obey traffic rules to ensure your safety and that of other drivers.
7. Maintain Your Vehicle
Finally, stay safe by making sure your car is in great condition. Check your vehicle's tire pressure regularly, ensure all lights are in good working condition, and get repairs done immediately if you notice any issues. This ensures that not only are you driving a safe vehicle but that others can see you on the road.
Staying Safe Behind the Wheel
While driving can be fun, it's also essential to stay safe, particularly during summer break and social events. This summer, whether you're cruising with friends or traveling long distances, follow these seven tips to stay safe on the road. As long as you're responsible and alert, you're sure to have a great time while staying safe. Remember, safety first!
As a parent, it is important to understand the dangers associated with driving during the summer. Speak with your child about how summer driving can lead to some dangerous situations–more cars on the road, increased alcohol consumption among party-goers, and distractions like cell phones–and how you can work together to ensure their safety on the road during the next few months.
Injured in an accident? Contact Brewster & De Angelis today at (918) 265-1214 or online to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team. We understand that even when you do everything right, accidents still happen.