With school out for the summer, there’s more opportunity for teenagers to get into trouble while driving. According to research by AAA, seven out of the 10 deadliest days for teen drivers fall between Memorial Day and Labor Day when kids return to school. Roughly 1,000 fatalities are caused by teenagers in car crashes during the summer, far more than any other time of the year. Most of those injured are either passengers, drivers of other cars, pedestrians, and cyclists.
Increased Hazards Of Summer Driving
Although we tend to think winter, with its slippery roads and snowfall, is the most dangerous for driving, summer comes with its own set of hazards. The primary concern during the summer is simply that there are more teenagers on the road. These novice drivers are more likely to get into accidents than any other demographic of drivers and the more they drive, the more likely it is they’ll be in an accident..
Not only are there more teenagers on the road, there’s also increased congestion from vacationers, motorcyclists, and cyclists on the road. Summer is also known for extra road construction, meaning drivers need to take extra precautions to avoid dangers in work zones. Finally, hot weather can do a number on your vehicle’s tires and blow outs aren’t unusual during the summer months.
Top Distractions For Teenage Drivers
Teens often lack the judgement of more experienced drivers when making decisions driving. In addition, they tend to become more reckless when they have other teenage passengers in the vehicle, if they are texting while driving, driving late at night, or traveling in new, unfamiliar road conditions. A study of teen crashes by AAA concluded that the top driving distractions for teenagers were:
- Talking/paying attention to passengers;
- Cell phone use (talking/texting/operating); and
- Looking at or attending to something in the vehicle
These distractions were responsible for 15, 12, and 11 percent of crashes, respectively.
How Parents Can Prevent Teen Accidents
Parents can help keep their teenagers and other drivers safe this summer by setting rules for their teenagers. In addition to no cell phones, no additional passengers, no speeding, no alcohol, and always using a seatbelt, parents should commit to spending at least 50 hours with their teen driving during the summer to make sure they are following the rules. Parents can also do the following:
- Restrict driving to essential trips – Joyrides are more likely to end in accidents, especially for teens in their first year of driving. It’s recommended that parents only allow their teens to “drive with a purpose” or only take necessary trips by car.
- No nighttime driving – The chance of a teen being in an accident doubles after dark. It’s best for parents to not allow teens do drive after 9:00 p.m.
- Have a driving contract – Help teens stay safe by coming up with a written contract with expectations and consequences of reckless behavior or rule-breaking.
- Lead by example – Whenever you are behind the wheel and your teenager is the passenger, set a good example. Many parents engage in unsafe driving practices and even justify their unsafe behaviors.
Need a Car Accident Attorney?
If you or your teenager has been involved in a car accident with another teenage driver, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Contact the skilled Kansas City car accident lawyers at Krause and Kinsman Law Firm to discuss the specifics of your case and find out what your options are for filing a claim.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.