19 May “Drive” Into Summer With Umergency’s Top 10 Teen Driver Safety Tips
As temperatures continue to rise, so do the number of traffic collisions on America’s roadways. Sadly, many inexperienced teen drivers are among those who are involved in severe crashes during summer break.
Since the Umergency health and safety app has now expanded to include high school students and families — and since the summer season is almost here — it’s the right time to review essential summer safety tips for teen drivers. By establishing safety habits early on, teens will have a far better chance of enjoying a safe and fun summer vacation.
Top 10 Summer Travel Tips for Teen Drivers
Be Extra Aware of Summer Travel Risks
During the summertime, everyone likes to get out and take a drive. Unfortunately, this increased traffic also means there’s a higher likelihood of significant car crashes.
In fact, road safety experts believe the “100 Deadliest Days” for drivers occur between Memorial Day and Labor Day. AAA estimates there’s usually a 15 percent spike in teen car crashes between these sizzling holidays.
While parents can’t do anything to “prevent” this unfortunate seasonal trend, they can inform their children about these statistics. Sharing this info should reinforce the message to pay extreme attention while on the road.
Never Shrug Off Seat Belts
Seat belts should be a “no-brainer,” but they deserve a special mention with teen drivers. According to recent surveys, about one in four teens admit to driving without a seatbelt from time to time. However, parents aren’t in the clear when it comes to overall seat belt skills! The CDC estimates that one in seven American adults still don’t wear a seat belt every time they’re in a car.
Parents must lead by example when teaching teens to ride in a car. Whether you’re a driver or a passenger, buckling up should be a habit before revving the engine. Remember that a seat belt cuts the risk of a fatal accident by a staggering 45 percent. Among teen drivers and passengers 16–19 years of age who died in car crashes in 2019, almost half were unrestrained at the time of the crash.
Pre-Trip Communication Is Critical
Teens may want independence on the road, but they need to meet their parents halfway. Before heading out on a summer joyride, teens should share a detailed itinerary of where they intend to go.
Yes, getting this info may make parents feel like a nag, but it’s essential for driver safety. As long as parents know where their teens should be, it will be easier to ensure they’re safe on the roads. Of course, with the Umergency app, they will be able to use the “Urgent Alert” button to notify their parents where to send help if needed.
Watch Out For Sweltering Summer Weather
Drivers often focus on weather hazards during the winter season. Although snow and ice are potentially deadly issues, the summer has its fair share of weather-related woes. In fact, clear and crisp summer weather often makes teen drivers feel a false sense of security. Chances are drivers take more precautions if they’re navigating a snowstorm versus a fine summer day.
Summer-specific weather issues include overheating engines, blowout tires, and sudden rainstorms. Teens should review these issues and watch a weather report before leaving for any travel destination.
Don’t Text and Drive!
Cell phones are never car-friendly. Unfortunately, many teens and even their parents aren’t aware of the latest statistics on the dangers of distracted driving.
According to the CDC, 39 percent of high school drivers used a mobile device at least once in the past month while driving. Researchers also claim it’s more likely for drivers between 15 and 20 to use a cell phone while driving versus those over 21. According to the National Safety Council, 1 in 4 accidents are caused by drivers who are texting while driving.
Thankfully, Apple and Android smartphones now have built-in safety features like “Driving Focus” and “Google Driving Assistant.” There are also many apps high schoolers could download that will temporarily disable their phones while driving.
To learn more about how to help teens put down their phones while driving, be sure to check out the safety tips in this previous Umergency post.
Feeling Tired? Pull Over!
Summer road trips are super exciting once students take off…but they can quickly feel bored the longer they’re on the road. Depending on how long a teen has been on the road, a summer trip could soon become a dangerous snoozefest.
Driver fatigue is nothing to yawn at! According to the NHTSA, there are roughly 90,000 drowsy-driving-related crashes each year.
Road safety experts claim the best way to avoid drowsy driving is to get a good night’s sleep before a big trip. If teens feel sleepy behind the wheel, they need to find a safe place to pull over ASAP.
Despite what energy drinks may claim, there’s no “quick fix” to getting over drowsiness. These caffeinated beverages can give drivers a false sense of confidence. The NHTSA says sleep-deprived drivers can temporarily lose consciousness even after drinking something like coffee.
Review The Car Manufacturer’s Safety Features
Considering how much time people drive in their cars, it’s surprising how little drivers know about their vehicles. Recent surveys suggest only 29 percent of car owners could explain their vehicle’s safety features. Even more surprising, one in ten drivers admitted to disabling safety functions before hitting the road.
Parents and teens should review all of the safety features in their car and how to make the most of them. This simple tip will allow parents to compare their car’s safety features versus current safety standards.
Know The Dangers Of DUI
The legal drinking age doesn’t stop some teens from driving under the influence. In fact, the NHTSA estimates about 24 percent of teen drivers who died in a crash had a blood-alcohol content of at least .01 – 0.7. The CDC also claims at least one in ten high school students admit to drinking while driving.
What’s extra scary about the summer is that most of the year’s “highest DUI holidays” occur during the “100 Deadliest Days.” Memoral Day, July 4th and Labor Day often rank as some of the worst days for DUIs.
Teens need to know the severe consequences of driving under the influence before heading out on a summer trip.
Don’t Forget About Drugged Driving!
When people talk about DUI, they often focus on alcohol-related crashes. True, alcohol remains the primary culprit behind fatal DUIs, but other substances can seriously mess with a teen driver’s reflexes.
For instance, the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia recently discovered that 49 percent of teens who smoke cannabis admitted to driving under the influence of THC. Plenty of studies show THC will decrease reflexes and stall motor function. Also, since legal cannabis is now easier to find in many states, fatal weed-related crashes have gone up to about 21 percent in recent years.
Teens also must ensure that any prescription medications are safe to take before driving. Just because a pill is doctor-approved doesn’t mean it won’t impair driving reflexes. Teens need to speak with a medical professional to understand the side effects of their medications.
Avoid Night Travel If Possible
Driving at night presents unique safety challenges for teen drivers. Recent statistics suggest most fatal teen crashes happen between 6 PM and 3 AM. These figures are even worse on the weekend.
Not only is nighttime driving dangerous due to poor visibility, but there are also more drunk drivers later in the day. Ideally, teens should plan the bulk of their travel during the daylight hours when most drivers are vigilant, and the chances of crashes are lower.
Bonus Tip: Be Sure To Visit “In One Instant” For More Critical Driving Safety Information!
A fantastic way to “drive home” the message of teen road safety is to check out In One Instant’s teen safe driving program that is now in over 3500 schools. Endorsed by significant automakers, health and safety departments, and educators nationwide, In One Instant offers a highly successful video program and engaging activities targeting teen drivers. In One Instant teaches teens safe driving habits, how to confront peer pressure and make better decisions.
For more details on In One Instant’s program, please check out its website on this link.