According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the chances of getting into a car accident are highest in the summer. From road trips and vacations, to holidays like Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day, we’re on the road more, traveling long distances by car.
The group with the highest risk of getting in an accident? Teens between the ages of 15 and 20 years old. School’s out, and they’re eager to get out of the house, driving with less experience and more distractions than ever before.
Below are some tips to stay safe behind the wheel during the summer & all year long:
- No Cell Phones: Cell phones are like mini-computers these days, with the ability to call, text, surf the Internet, Facebook, etc. These are all distractions that can lead to fatal car accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers that use cell phones while behind the wheel are four times more likely to get into serious car crashes. In the state of Pennsylvania, text messaging while driving is illegal and is subject to enforcement, which means you can be pulled over and fined for that reason alone. Don’t take the risk. If you must talk on a phone, use a hands-free device, and don’t try to text, e-mail, tweet, etc. while driving.
- No Driving With Friends: In school, your teen saw his or her friends every day. Now that summer is in full swing, they don’t want to be stuck in the house all day and are anxious to get out and pick their friends up to grab food, shop, see a movie, etc. However, friends in the car can be just as distracting as cell phones. A recent study by the Journal of Adolescent Health found that of 677 teens that were involved in serious car crashes, 71% of males and nearly 50% of females admitted to being directly distracted by other passengers in the car. Limit the number of passengers your teen drives with to one other person.
- No Loud Music: It’s no secret that teens love to blast their music. So much so, that a study by Erie Indemnity, a PA insurance carrier, found that 93 percent of teen drivers play loud, distracting music behind the wheel. Music that’s too loud prevents your teen from hearing sirens and/or horns, and can also cause them to look away from the road to fiddle with an iPod or CD player. It’s fine to listen to music while driving; just make sure the music is not blaring, and encourage your teen to load CD’s or playlists prior to putting the car into drive.
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