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USA Today reported yesterday (May 14, 2012) that “the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day has been dubbed by auto club AAA and Volvo as “The 100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers.” This statistic becomes even more frightening as the report identifies vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death for teenagers in this country.
There are many factors which contribute to the Deadly Driving Season. Although teen drinking remains a major contributor to crashes, peer pressure, distraction, speeding and driving mistakes are even more deadly.
It is recommended that parents have a series of conversations with their youngster about safe driving and crash prevention. These conversations should begin early, even before the teen receives a driving permit and should be ongoing after he or she becomes a licensed driver.
Parents can add to the effectiveness of these safe driving talks by helping their teens develop a healthy sense of self-esteem and a strong resistance to peer pressure. It is essential that the teen driver be able to feel comfortable saying NO to friends who may be more interested in excitement than safety. Adolescents can be risk takers, and many can encourage their driving friends to speed up, weave in and out of high speed highways, not wear seat belts, or allow more kids in a car than is safe. Groups of adolescents are known to act more impulsively than individuals. Each additional passenger can increase the risk of unsafe driving.
Encourage your teen to understand that nothing is more important than safety. It’s OK to be different than your friends if you are keeping yourself and your passengers safe. Teens need to know that it really isn’t cool to put themselves or others at risk and that terrible things could happen if they don’t give their driving 100% responsible attention at all times.
Talking to your child is so important…If you are interested in more information on helping you teen develop a strong resistance to peer pressure, look at the Charge Up Your Confidence® Tool Kit, in which young people learn to recognize how they think and feel and learn to be comfortable with themselves, even if their views are different than their friends. Help make this driving season a safe and healthy one.