Summer the most dangerous time for teen drivers

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 - 9:27am

7 out of the 10 deadliest days for teenage drivers occur between late May and early August, according to AAA. That makes the summer the deadliest season for teens behind the wheel. Safety experts say it's a combination of factors, from extra time out of school to more cars on the road.

To keep your teens safe, the AAA has the following recommendations:

Eliminate trips without purpose. Teens have three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, based on amount of miles driven, and a teen’s crash risk is highest during the first year of solo driving. Limit teens’ driving to essential trips and only with parental permission for at least the first year of driving.

Limit passengers. Crash rates increase with each teen passenger in the vehicle. In fact, fatal crash rates for 16- to 19-year-olds increase fivefold when two or more teen passengers are present versus when teens drive alone. Also, riding in a vehicle with a teen driver can be risky for teen passengers. Establish passenger limits and restrict teens from riding as a passenger with a teen driver.

Restrict night driving. A teen driver’s chances of being involved in a deadly crash doubles at night. Many parents limit driving during the highest-risk late night hours, yet they should consider limiting evening driving as well, as more than half of nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.

Establish a parent-teen driving agreement. Written agreements help set and enforce clear rules about night driving, passengers, access to the car, and more. AAA Insurance offers a parent-teen driving agreement on its teen driver safety website, Keys2Drive. The website also offers a variety of additional tools and resources for parents and teens as they progress through the learning-to-drive process.

Enroll teens in summer driving school. Summer offers the perfect opportunity for teens to brush up on their driving skills. AAA’s Approved Driving School Network is an exclusive group of schools that have met strict requirements for AAA approval, plus they offer a AAA member discount.

Use driver training tools. Enhance your teen's driving, critical thinking and decision-making skills with driver training resources. AAA offers programs like teenSMART, which can earn up to 24 percent off your teen’s AAA auto insurance upon completion; Teaching Your Teens to Drive, which helps guide parents who choose to teach their teens to drive themselves; and Driver-ZED, which helps teens practice recognizing and avoiding road hazards.

Be there. Make sure your teen knows that if they need help, advice or a ride, they can call you at any time. Extend this offer often and let your teen know that you are always available, and that they will not be judged or punished should they need your help.

399 teenagers die on American roadways every summer, according to AAA, compared to 350 during the rest of the year.

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