Back to School

Back to school means rushing, parking lots, and multiple passengers.  For teens it is a time of excitement and new beginnings but for parents it could be a time of concern.  With many newly licensed teen drivers commuting to high school, it is important to begin a dialogue with your teen about safe driving tips. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of injury and death among teenagers in the U.S; with the risk of crashes highest among teens 16 to 19 years old. Every year close to 5,000 teens are killed and approximately 300,000 injured in automobile crashes.

  • Always wear seat belts: Driver and all passengers
  • Limit number of passengers in your car: Risk of crash doubles with 1 passenger and increases 5 times with 2 or more passengers
  • Do not use cell phones or any other electronic devices when driving
  • Be familiar with school zones and obey crossing guards
  • Obey all traffic signs, signal and markings
  • Do not speed especially in school zones
  • Stop for school buses when flashing red lights are on
  • Drive defensively


Winter Driving

Winter driving can be very dangerous even for an experienced driver. For teens it can be downright scary. Depending upon when your teen receives his or her license it is important to know that the first 1,000 hours behind the wheel are the most dangerous. The Parent Center urges parents to teach winter driving tips to their new teen driver to help them navigate the snowy and icy road conditions safetly.

  • Take multiple practice runs with your teen whether it be rain, sleet or snow
  • Tell your teen to never be in a hurry when driving, especially in winter weather
  • Instruct your teen about the importance of slowing down and leaving extra space between them and the car in front of them
  • Educate your teen on accelerating gradually and braking slowly; slamming on the breaks can result in losing control of the car
  • Steer into a skid – if car starts to skid, steer in the direction of the skid, slow down gently, do not slam on the brakes
  • Do not spin your wheels if stuck in snow – rock back and forth slowly
  • Keep a winter survival kit in car – flares, blanket, snow brush & shovel, flashlight etc.


Summer Driving 

Spring is an exciting time for teens. It is the season of proms and graduations. The school year is ending and summer vaction is just around the corner. It is also one of the most dangerous times for teens. The “100 Deadliest Days for Teens” is between Memorial Day and Labor Day, this is when the number of teen driving-related injuries and deaths increase dramatically. According to MADD in 2009, about 3,000 teens in the United States aged 15-19 were killed and more than 350,000 were treated in emergency departments for injures suffered in  motor-vehicle crashes. May has been designated National Youth Traffic Safety Month (NYTSM). The top three deadliest months are May, July and August. The top three deadliest days are June 14, July 3, and August 8.

During this time it is important to review the basic safe-driving tips with your teens, some of these tips are mentioned above:

  • ALWAYS wear seat belts
  • LIMIT the number of passengers
  • NO cellphone use or texting
  • RESTRICT night driving
  • NO alcohol or other drug use
  • KEEP eyes on the road and hands on the wheel at all times
  • OBEY all traffic laws