Many children of all ages love summer vacation. The freedom from school routines, trips to the beach and warm weather holidays all make the summer one of the most enjoyable times of year for most children and teenagers.
Once young adults reach high school, the summer months become even more thrilling. Not only is there a break from school, but there is more freedom, possibly including access to a vehicle and a driver’s license. Teenagers feel intense pressure to socialize and may spend the summer months bonding with their peers and working a part-time job. Unfortunately, the very time when they want to go out and explore the world is exactly when their risk of sustaining severe injuries is at its highest.
Experts annually warn parents about the 100 deadly days of summer
There are certain trends as to when and why teenage car crashes occur. The summer sees a significant surge in teenage collisions, particularly fatal crashes. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day, there are often hundreds of preventable crashes and many deaths. When there are so many young adults on the road at once with open schedules and minimal supervision, the possibility of bad choices increases. Teens egged on by their peers may speed or engage in other obviously unsafe behaviors, like racing on public roads.
They may choose to do something obviously unsafe inside the vehicle, like riding around without their seatbelts on or having more people in a vehicle than there are technically seats. Teenage traffic fatalities often involve young adults who did not have their safety restraints in place at the time of the collision. Increased socialization during the summer means an increased risk of intoxication. Many of the crashes that occur will involve drugs are alcohol. Impairment is a bigger risk for youthful drivers who have less experience at the wheel.
How parents can protect new drivers
Talking with teenagers about safety risks will frequently elicit a less-than-enthusiastic response. Parents need to ensure that they have communicated effectively with their children about what puts them at the most risk on the road, including impairment and distraction.
Strictly enforcing rules about driving safety can help teach responsibility to a young adult who is positioned to potentially do great harm to themselves and others. Tracking and talking about safety issues can benefit new drivers and also adults who sometimes become complacent about the risks involved in motor vehicle travel. Parents who know when their children are at higher risk of a fatal car crash can help keep their families a bit safer.