One of the greatest adventures in a teen’s life is finally earning their driver’s license. After years of being transported and carted around by parents, siblings, various adults, and even their friends, that plastic card can be the taste of freedom they’ve craved their entire lives. And it can change multiple lives for the better… as long as they make it to adulthood.
According to the most recent nationwide research, teens drive less than any age group besides seniors, and yet their crash rates are higher than any other age group. Teens between the ages of 16 and 17 have the highest risk of collision. According to AAA, teens are three times more likely to be part of a fatal crash between Memorial Day and Labor Day. But why is summer the deadliest season for teenage drivers?
Teen Drivers Have More Free Time
Once school is over, teens have a lot of time on their hands. And they still want to see their friends. But unlike their younger counterparts, many have access to a vehicle and a legal right to drive it. Not being at school for 7 or 8 hours a day and having no weekend study sessions leads to long days and late nights behind the wheel.
Teenagers Rarely Drive Alone
There’s no such thing as a single bored teen, and they thrive on either being bored together or staying entertained together. The latter is easy when at least one friend drives. But a teen driver with a single passenger increases the risk of an accident by 44%. The risk is doubled when a second passenger is added, and it’s doubled again if a third is in the car.
Teen Drivers Are Inexperienced for Summer Driving
Even if your teen has driven in the past, chances are it’s been the same routes: to school, to a few specific friends, maybe even on a few short errands. But that certainly doesn’t mean they’re anywhere near ready to hop on the highway and head to the beach for the day. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what your teen will want to do with their friends this summer. Just make sure they have plenty of highway experience before handing over the keys.
Teen Drivers Are Unsupervised in the Summer
Even though your teen’s off school, chances are you’ll still need to work and pay the bills for the next few months. A new study, however, revealed that teens are more likely to crash when unsupervised during the first few months of driving. Almost 60% of all teen accidents come down to speeding, failure to yield, and inattention and June is the biggest crash month for the age group. A little extra supervision can go a long way.
Teen Drivers and Summer Distractions Are a Deadly Combination
If you’re like most parents, a quick “No drinking, no texting, and be home by X” precedes a quick key exchange. That’s usually met with mumbling acceptance and a peck on the cheek if you’re lucky. Teens tend to live in a bubble of invulnerability, but that bubble does little to protect from distraction on the road. Most teens can manage to take their eyes off their phones, tablets, or friends during the drive. Use tracking and reward apps, stick to consequences, and keep the number of a competent Michigan car accident attorney on hand at all times. With almost 500,000 teen crashes annually nationwide, you just might need it.