Prom, Graduation and Driving â€¦ oh my!May 11, 2011 | in Defensive Driving Online
It’s that time of year again: prom and graduation season. These two rites of passage signal not only the coming of summer but also may mark a transition into the collegiate life, which usually results in weeks of celebrations (and rightfully so!). But as exciting as this time of year can be, it also is a dangerous time for teen drivers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, car accidents are the leading cause of death among teens in the United States. Per mile driven, teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely than older drivers to crash. There are several reasons why teens are at a higher risk, including:
- Driving with other teens in the car. Crash risk increases with the number of teenage passengers in the car.
- Not wearing a seatbelt. Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seatbelt use.
- Underestimating/not being able to recognize dangerous driving situations.
- Distracted driving, which entails texting, talking on the phone and adjusting an iPod/radio.
- Drinking and driving. At all levels of blood alcohol concentration, the risk of crashing increases for teen drivers.
Teen crash risk increases from April to June as students revel in the celebrations that spring and summer bring, according to an article by dosomething.org . To encourage safe driving during this season, we at the DefensiveDriving.com team have compiled a list of tips and tricks to help drivers, especially teens, avoid accidents:
- Don’t drink and drive. We hear it all the time, but it is one of the simplest ways to ensure you will be awake and alert behind the wheel. Don’t let your friends drink in the car. Not only is it illegal, but you may not be allowed into prom or graduation if you smell like you’ve been drinking!
- If you do drink or if your ride does, have a backup plan. Be sure someone is available for you to call if you need a ride home on prom or graduation night.
- Buckle your seatbelt. Another tip we hear over and over again, but it’s another easy way to protect yourself. A little wrinkle in your dress, tux or graduation gown is hardly worth not buckling up for!
- Plan, plan, plan. Arrive on time so you’re not speeding because you’re late. Know where you’re going afterward and make sure you know how to get there before you leave. If you are the driver, check your brakes and brake fluid the day before to ensure your car is in tip top mechanical shape.
- Turn the volume down. Save the singing and dancing with your friends for the prom!
- Keep your eye on the prize. There will be drunk drivers on the road, so stay alert and keep your distance from anyone who seems to be driving abnormally.
- Ride in style: Rent a limo! Get a group of friends together and split the cost, but be sure to limit the number to that which the service tells you can fit in the limousine. Too many passengers can be distracting to the driver.
We hope you’ll take these statistics and suggestions into consideration. And congratulations to the classes of 2011!
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