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Read This if You Have a Teen Driver!

With school break, vacations, and exciting events, summer increases the number of teen drivers out on the road. But there’s a flip side to the excitement of summer. Summer is also one of the most dangerous times for teen drivers. The time between Memorial Day and Labor Day has been called the “100 deadliest days” to be on the road.

And summer isn’t the only time of year that teens are more likely to be in a serious auto accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, teen drivers ages 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash, no matter the time of year. The main reason for this tragic statistic is that teens lack experience handling a car and understanding roadway conditions. Teens especially struggle with sizing up and reacting appropriately to driving situations like merging onto a highway, making a left-hand turn at a crowded intersection, or driving in poor weather, according to Healthy Children.

Do you have a teen driver? Help them prepare for a safe summer by understanding 5 major reasons they’re at high risk of an auto accident. Talk to your teen about the serious risk of an auto accident, and talk about how you can both worth together to lower that risk.

#1: Teen Drivers Don’t Have Enough Practice

School drivers-ed programs and private driving instruction typically provide a total of six hours on-the-road training when the experience actually needed to become reasonably proficient is closer to fifty hours (two hours a week spread over six months). “Practice makes better,” so encourage teen drivers to receive as much driver education as possible, in a variety of different driving situations.

#2: Teen Drivers Get Their License Too Soon

American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that teens do not receive an unrestricted license until age eighteen or until they have been driving under adult supervision for at least two years.

#3: Teens Drive Other Teen Passengers

Research has shown that accidents are more common when teen drivers carry teen passengers. Teens are more likely succumb to peer pressure, and other teen passengers often encourage unsafe driving behaviors.

#4: Teens Tend to Drive Older, Cheaper Cars

It might seem like a good practice for teens to save up and buy their own car. However, when it comes to roadway safety and accident prevention, “beaters” can’t compare to newer models with modern safety features. Ideally, adolescents should be driving midsize or full-size cars equipped with air bags, says Healthy Children. Larger cars offer more crash protection. Avoid high-performance vehicles that may tempt teens to speed. SUVs are generally less stable and more likely to roll over. Having a heavy-duty roll bar installed will greatly increase safety.

#5: Adults Don’t Set Good Examples

As a parent, older sibling, relative, mentor, or another respected adult in a teen’s life, you have the opportunity to be a powerful role model. For everyone’ sake, avoid speeding, weaving in and out of traffic, drinking and driving, texting at the wheel, fiddling with your smartphone, and road rage!