Avoid Teen Car Accidents in Summer
School’s out for the summer, which means more teens on the road. While there are plenty of responsible young drivers out there, the sheer increase in teens behind the wheel during the summer months means the probability of a crash goes up significantly. In fact, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day has been labeled the “Deadliest 100 Days” for teen drivers by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Read our article to find out more about teen driving and what parents can do to help their children stay safe on the road.
Why Teens Have More Accidents in Summer
In general, teen drivers are already at an increased risk for car accidents when driving. These risks increase during the summer months, and there are plenty of reasons for this:
Teens Are Inexperienced Drivers
One of the main reasons for an increase in teen car accidents is simply inexperience. In the US, children as young as 15 can legally operate a vehicle (with a permit and licensed driver). By 16, many American teens have earned their driver’s license, giving them the right to drive a vehicle solo.
Sixteen-year-old drivers are still learning the rules of the road and how to operate a vehicle safely. Things adults take for granted, like knowing when to brake, how much space to allow between vehicles, and who has the right of way are still brand new to teen drivers. They will make mistakes as part of the learning process.
In the summer, teens will be on the road more often. This can be a good thing, allowing them to refine their driving skills and gain valuable experience. However, more time spent on the road can also mean more opportunity for mistakes to be made.
Teens Engage in Riskier Driving Behaviors
Risk-taking is a normal part of adolescent psychology. Biologically, the area of the brain responsible for self-regulation is underdeveloped in teenagers. This is why they are more vulnerable to things like social media and peer pressure. It also means they are more likely to make questionable choices when on the road: texting, speeding, not wearing a safety belt, or driving while under the influence can all contribute to teen driving accidents.
Again, in summer months, these risky behaviors will increase due to more free time. Teenagers will also be more likely to be driving at night and with friends, which can contribute to distracted driving and risky behaviors due to peer pressure.
There is More Traffic in the Summer
As people head out for summer holidays, family get-to-gethers, camping, and other activities, the roads become more congested and at unpredictable times of day. Whereas you can generally count on certain rush hours during the school year, summer months will present a challenge to teenagers trying to get used to the ebb and flow of traffic. More cars on the road means more potential for accidents.
How to Avoid Teen Car Accidents
There are a number of things that parents can do to help their teen drivers stay safe during the 100 deadliest days:
Talk About Safe Driving
This may seem obvious, but don’t just talk about safe driving once and assume it hit home. Talk to your teen daily, even hourly, about the risks involved with driving and the importance of driving defensively and predictably. Remind them consistently that driving is a privilege that can be revoked if not taken seriously. Circumvent their natural inclination to take risks by highlighting the serious, even deadly, consequences of irresponsible driving.
Set Strict Rules
Set rules to help your teen avoid common causes of accidents. For example, you may want to set a curfew before night falls and limit the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle. Seatbelts must be worn at all times, and absolutely no texting while driving.
Set a Good Example
When driving with your teen, demonstrate good technique. Always wear your safety belt and wait to start driving until everyone else is buckled in. Observe the speed limits, traffic signals, and other rules of the road to the letter. Avoid texting or talking on the phone, even where legal. Encourage your teen to ask questions about signs they may not have seen before or how to handle new situations, like road work or inclement weather.
Teen Driving Accidents in Colorado
Did you know that Colorado ranks 14th for riskiest teen drivers? There were 213 fatal teen driving accidents in Colorado between 2015 and 2019, and a majority of these were related to speeding and texting while driving. Male drivers are at an increased risk, accounting for up to 69 percent of fatal crashes.
Car accidents can be devastating in any circumstance; but they are particularly tragic when children are involved. If you or someone you know was involved in a teen driving accident, contact Dave Roth with the Roth Group. Even if your teen was driving irresponsibly when the accident occurred, Colorado’s contributory negligence law will hold another party or parties responsible for actions that may have also led to the accident. Call or go online today to schedule a free consultation.