Summer vacation is a time for kids to relax and enjoy some well-deserved time off, but many parents don’t realize that summer vacation is also when teen car crashes are at their highest. This phenomenon is so pervasive and well-documented, we have a name for it, “The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer.” But what are these 100 days, and what do they have to do with your child’s safety? Allow us to explain.
The 100 deadliest days of summer begin on May 15 and end on August 15. Throughout this time, teen drivers are about 25% more likely to be in a car crash. This is especially alarming because even under normal circumstances, drivers under the age of 20 are three times more likely to be a crash than drivers in the general population.
Inexperienced drivers are most likely to cause a crash. Teens who just earned their driver’s license are even more likely to be in a crash than teens who have had their license for more than 1.5 years. This is partially nervousness, partially an unfamiliarity with the rules of the road, and occasionally the fault of pure recklessness.
Frighteningly, teen car crashes aren’t just more common; they’re also deadlier. Car crashes are the leading cause of fatalities for people aged 16-19. This raises an important question for parents: how can you help your child survive the 100 deadliest days of summer?
Educate Your Child
According to the CDC, one of the most effective ways to help your child get home safely is to create a “Driving Agreement.” This is an agreement between you and your child that sets limitations and expectations for driving. It might include putting their cellphone on do not disturb, being home before dark, and not having other teens in the vehicle.
You should also take steps to help your child understand why these discussions are happening. Tell them why you are concerned for them and emphasize the importance of driving safely.
Talk About Cellphones
As we discussed previously, roughly 40% of teen drivers admit to using their cellphones while driving. This, in turn, leads more teens to engage in both distracted driving and aggressive driving. As a result, roughly 20% of teen car crashes are the direct result of texting and driving.
When talking to your teen, emphasize the importance of staying focused, remind them how triple-threat driving distractions can cause them to become lost in thought, and make sure they know that voice dictation is not a safe alternative to manually texting. The only way a cellphone is safe around teen drivers is when it is out of reach and put on silent.
Offer to Drive
Teen car crashes are most likely to occur at night. This is partly because of low visibility and partly because of drunk driving (both on the part of teens and other drivers). Drinking and driving alone account for another 25% of all teen car crash fatalities.
As a parent, the most effective thing you can do to help your child get home safe is offer to drive them at night, especially if you suspect they’ll be drinking. While underage drinking is unlawful, teens will find a way to get alcohol. The only thing you can do is make sure they do not put themselves or others at risk on their way home.
It’s always wise to be a passenger when your teen drives at night. This will allow you to give them valuable instruction to make them more confident while driving in the dark and help them avoid some of the most frequent mistakes that put young drivers at risk.
If you were injured by a distracted driver, let us fight for you. If you’d like to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Bryan car accident lawyer from The Payne Law Group, don’t hesitate to contact our firm at (979) 300-7406 or send us an email.