Summer is the most dangerous time of year on roads across the United States. In fact, the time between Memorial Day and Labor Day is referred to as the ‘100 Deadliest Days.’ During the 100 Deadliest Days, car accidents and traffic fatalities spike drastically — especially among young drivers.
Across the country, more than 7,000 people died in teen driving-related summer crashes between 2010 and 2019. That’s more than seven people per day, on average, during the summer months. In addition, according to statistics, new teen drivers between the ages of 16-17 are three times more likely than adults to be involved in a deadly crash.
Keep reading to learn more about what parents can do to make sure their teens are staying safe on the roadways this summer.
An insurance report found that 72% of teen drivers admit to engaging in risky driving behaviors regularly. These include distraction, speeding, texting, aggressive driving, and driving while tired.
Driving while distracted is to blame for nearly six out of ten teen crashes. The top distractions for teens include using their smartphones and talking to other passengers in the car.
Research has found that 60% of teen drivers killed in car crashes were not wearing their seat belt. Making sure you and your passengers are wearing a seat belt is one of the easiest things you can do to make sure everyone is safe in the event of a crash.
Research shows that driving above the speed limit is a factor in about 30 percent of fatal accidents involving teen drivers. Furthermore, reports indicate that speeding is one of the top three mistakes teens make when learning to drive.
In addition to the teen driving risk factors above, there are other hazards during the summer months, including:
More traffic — Traffic levels are expected to skyrocket this summer as people are anxious to hit the open roads after being in lockdown for the past 18 months. U.S. roadways experienced 60% more traffic over Memorial Day Weekend this year compared to last. More traffic means more accidents. Make sure your teens plan their routes ahead of time to avoid the heaviest congestion.
Impaired driving — Summer also brings a seasonal uptick in drugged and drunk driving, especially around the 4th of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day. Talk with your teens about the life-altering consequences of impaired driving, and make sure you set the example and never drink and drive.
Tire blowouts and breakdowns — Driving long distances in the heat takes its toll on vehicles. The risk of tire blowouts and breakdowns can increase in the summer. Ensure your teen’s car is always up-to-date with maintenance and have them inspect their tires and vehicle before long road trips.
The good news is that awareness is the best prevention, and talking to your kids about the 100 Deadliest Days can go a long way when it comes to ensuring they are practicing safe driving habits. It’s also essential that parents model safe driving behaviors so their teens will follow their lead.
Here’s what experts recommend for keeping teens safe on the road:
Talk with your teens early and often about driving safely — Emphasize the importance of not partaking in risky behaviors such as texting, using social media, speeding, and driving under the influence. Educate them about the 100 Deadliest Days, include statistics, and foster an open conversation.
Set a good example — Always practice safe driving habits, including wearing your seatbelt, not using your cellphone, using turn signals, and pay attention to/follow the speed limits.
Create a parent-teen driving agreement — Set ground rules for your teen drivers, like prohibiting them from riding with other teen drivers or transporting their friends when they are still learning to drive. Set a curfew and talk about a backup plan if they find themselves in a risky situation, like the friend they rode with to a party has been drinking, or they’ve been drinking themselves.
Although our safety tips in this post are geared towards teenagers, drivers of all ages should adhere to driving safety practices year-round.
No matter the time of year, it’s essential that your teen driver has a robust car insurance policy. Some coverage for new drivers emphasizes safety and rewards teens for safe driving habits. Other policies come with additional hours of training and education to ensure young drivers stay safe on the road.
To find the best policy for your young drivers, take your time and do adequate research. You can easily browse hundreds of insurance options and compare coverage with PolicyScout. Read reviews, browse coverage levels, and find answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) in one easy spot.