Why Is Summer Dangerous for Teenage Drivers?

Drivers who are just starting out can’t possibly have the experience, knowledge, and skills as seasoned adult drivers. This already puts teen drivers at a disadvantage on the road and increases the risk of collisions. In fact, the risk of car accidents is nearly three times higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than drivers 20 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summertime poses even greater hazards for teenage drivers. As a parent, be on the lookout for these summer-specific roadway risks to help your teen driver stay accident-free.

More Passengers

School’s out and fun with friends is in. This can mean many teen drivers pilling their cars high with passengers – and a serious risk of accidents. The risk of a car accident increases in correlation with the number of passengers in a teen’s vehicle. Instead of letting everyone ride together to a vacation destination, enforce a one-passenger rule, or supervise road trips yourself. Don’t trust your teen driver to keep passengers in check him/herself. Odds are, your teen will let passengers do whatever they want. Instead, lay down the law as a parent.

Speeding and Reckless Driving

Teenage drivers are much more likely to succumb to peer pressure while driving than adults. With a car full of passengers or when driving next to a fellow teen friend, a younger driver might engage in dangerous and reckless driving behaviors such as speeding or racing. These incidents tend to be more common during the summer, when more teens are on the roads and hitching rides with friends.

Greater Odds of Driver Distraction

Teenage drivers are the country’s most distracted drivers. Teen drivers are also more likely to speed and less likely to wear seatbelts. This combination can be deadly. Cell phone use is the largest cause of teenage distracted driving. Texting, using social media apps, and chatting with friends can take a driver’s hands, eyes, and mind off the driving task. Summertime can increase the risk of teen driver distraction, since the driver will likely be coordinating with friend or family while driving to hang-out destinations. Enforce a strict no-phone rule while your teen is behind the wheel.

An Increase of New Drivers on the Roads

Summer vacation might be the first time many newly licensed teen drivers take trips longer than just to school and back. Your teen won’t be the only one taking his or her first longer road trip this summer – most of your child’s high school class will be in the same boat. With so many inexperienced drivers on the road, it’s important to teach your teen defensive driving. This means constantly being aware of one’s surroundings and being ready to brake or move out of the way of other vehicles.

Drunk Drivers

Summer is prime time for parties, barbecues, late nights, and plenty of opportunities to imbibe. Your teen engaging in underage drinking and driving is a major risk. Statistics show that about 25% of all teenage-driver car accidents involve an underage drinking driver. Even if you’re certain this isn’t an issue with your child, it doesn’t mean other drivers will be as responsible. Reduce the odds of your teen driver encountering a drunk driver this summer by enforcing a curfew. Studies show that most drunk driving collisions happen at night and in the early hours of the morning, especially on the weekends.

Later Nights

Without school giving your teen a reason to get to bed early, he or she might expect a later curfew over summer. Know, however, that statistics show a significant increase in nighttime teen accidents compared to daytime. After dark, low visibility, fatigue, and drunk driving all become bigger problems. Nighttime car wrecks tend to be more serious and more often fatal for teenagers than those during the day. Reduce your child’s risk by using a driving curfew and/or dropping your teen off to late-night events or sleepovers.