Summer - The Most Dangerous Time of the Year for Teen Drivers
Summertime brings warm weather, no school and time among friends. The summer months area meant for relaxation and enjoyment, however the period between Memorial Day to Labor Day is traditionally the deadliest on the road - particularly for teens.
Inexperience and immaturity are the primary causes of the increased risk of teenage driving. Untrained eyes are more likely to underestimate hazardous situations on the road. Speeding, tailgating and reckless driving is also more likely with teenage drivers. When teens have other teenage passengers in their vehicle the likelihood of a crash is increased due to heightened distractions, with the risk rising with every added passenger. Distracted driving is becoming a national epidemic and young drivers have the lowest rate of seat belt usage compared to all other age groups.
Preventative measures must be taken to bring teen auto accidents and fatalities down. Parents can take an active role in their teens’ driving training by setting safe standards.
- Use opportunities like driving to the store, post office or running errands to give their teens more time behind the wheel
- Don't rush! Allow extra time for new drivers to get to their destination
- Hold teens accountable for signaling, making complete stops and checking blind spots
- Make sure distractions are as limited as possible, especially cell phones. Drivers under age 18 cannot use electronic communication devices while driving - this includes cell phones to talk or text even in hands free mode
- Keep a three to four second distance between you and the car in front you
- Be aware of your surroundings, particularly motorcycles, bicyclists, pedestrians and individuals working in construction zones
- Do not allow teens to drive when they are tired - regardless of the time of day or night. During the first 12-months after a teen is licensed, teens cannot drive between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. (with some exceptions - see the California Driver Handbook)
- Teens are unable to transport passengers under 20 years old, unless accompanied by a California licensed driver 25 years old or older
- Teach your teen basic vehicle maintenance concepts and what to do if they experience mechanical issues while driving
The California Department of Motor Vehicles offers a parent-teen training guide to help navigate the tricky conversation of driver safety and responsibility.