We are now officially in the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers. Teen accidents spike during the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day for a number of reasons. One reason is that teens are on the road more because school is not in session. Aside from sending kids to school all year long (an idea likely to cause a revolution), not much can be done about this factor. But, there are other things you can do to reduce the risk to your teen driver. Below are five critical steps parents can take to reduce the chances that your teen will be involved in an accident.
- Avoid Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is involved in 60% of fatal accidents involving teen drivers, and one of the most common triggers for cellphone use is anticipating or receiving a message. To eliminate this issue while driving, use the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature on your phone. Or here is another option: before Do Not Disturb While Driving was a common feature on phones, many parents used to have their kids put their phones in the trunk while they were driving. This old school method still works great as it prevents drivers from giving into the temptation to look at their phone at red lights or in traffic, etc.
- Reduce the Number of Passengers
The phone is not the only distraction. Passengers are a huge distraction for teen drivers. Passengers in the vehicle increase the likelihood of a teen driver having a crash by 44%. The percentage increases the more passengers are in the car. Unlike a phone, where a driver is distracted only while looking at the phone, passengers are a constant distraction. Limiting the number of passengers in your teen driver’s vehicle helps reduce their risk of being in an accident.
- Use Technology to Your Benefit
Numerous companies, including Zendrive, Cambridge Mobile Telematics and TrueMotion, offer cellphone monitoring while driving. For example, Zendrive has monitoring services on 60 million phones, and some of the data is not pretty. Millions of Americans use their phones while driving for all sorts of activities including texting, talking, live-streaming, etc. Worse yet, these drivers have no perception of the hazard. In fact, one-third of the drivers who used their phones the most while driving considered themselves “extremely safe”. However, when drivers reviewed their driving metrics via this technology, the data helped create awareness and caused a 35- 40% reduction in phone use while driving.
- Practice What You Preach
This one is simple. Model the behavior you want from your teen. As a parent, do not text and drive. Obey the speed limit. Wear your seatbelt. Do not tailgate, etc. It boils down to: monkey see, monkey do.
- Keep Your Vehicle in Good Repair
Replace worn brakes. Keep your tires properly inflated and with adequate tread. Change windshield wiper blades regularly. All three of these things will help prevent an accident. Other regular maintenance like changing the oil, replacing air filters and belts and spark plugs can help prevent your teen’s car from breaking down in a dangerous situation.
We hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable summer break. And as always, we are here if you need us.