Back to school means back to a routine. If you have a high school student who will be driving to school this year, it may be time to review some basic, but important safety tips.
While young drivers are historically safer behind the wheel during the school year than during the summer months, there are still some risks your teen may face. Continue reading to learn tips that can help your student protect himself and others behind the wheel this school year.
Don’t Offer Rides to Classmates
Carpooling may be economical and environmentally responsible, but it can be particularly dangerous for teenagers. Studies show that teens are easily distracted by other teens in the car with them without supervision. They are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors and ultimately be killed in a car accident.
Just one additional passenger in the vehicle can increase the risk of a fatal collision by nearly half, and the risk is double with two additional passengers. Astoundingly, teens are four times more likely to be in a fatal accident if they drive with three or more peers in the vehicle than if they were alone. If your teenager has a graduated driver’s license, he or she may already be legally restricted to the number of peers who can ride with them. Parents, however, can help enforce these rules and even establish their own boundaries for passengers.
Avoid Late Night Commutes
Teen athletes are often required to attend practices and games – sometimes out of town. Entire teams often travel together and return to school late at night. Avoid letting your teen drive him or herself home – particularly if the commute will take place after 9 p.m. While the law allows for nighttime driving for school purposes even with a graduated driver’s license, you may want to consider picking up your teen instead. According to the International Institute for Highway Safety, 2 in 5 fatal collisions involving teenagers occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Pay Attention to School Zones and Buses
Teen drivers must drive through school zones to attend school each morning, and they probably pass a couple of buses along the way. School zones and school bus stops are particularly dangerous areas for pedestrians and students traveling on bikes and on foot. Teach your teen to leave home early enough to avoid feeling rushed. This can help prevent the temptation to speed or zoom past a school bus that has stopped to pick up children. You might also want to teach your teen to look out for pedestrians who jaywalk or cyclists who do not obey traffic laws.
Review Your Parent-Teen Driver Contract
As a provider of car insurance for teens, we know the power of parental involvement in keeping teen drivers safe. We encourage proactive steps like parent-driver agreements that could help keep Lake Geneva teens safer on the road.
Many parents create parent-teen driver contracts when young people start driving for the first time. These contracts generally outline the household driving curfew, the boundaries in which the teenager is expected to remain, and any other guidelines put in place by parents. It can also contain an agreement that your teen will always wear a safety belt without exception, and call for a ride if he or she is too fatigued or otherwise incapable of safely driving.
If you have not created a parent-teen contract for your home, doing so could help your teen think twice before engaging in risky behavior. You can create your own contract, or use the one offered by the Centers for Disease Control.