If you have teenagers in your home, you need to have a talk about safe driving during the holidays.
Young drivers may not be aware of the risks of being on the road this time of year. Make sure they know that dangerous activities such as joyriding, speeding, drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs can, and often does, result in injuries among people their own age.
Even if your teen isn’t behind the wheel yet, the risk of a drunk driving accident still exists if they ride in the car with older friends who drive. It may be necessary to set limits and rules to ensure they arrive home safely.
Talk to your teen about the threats that exist in the following areas while traveling during the holidays:
1) Heavy traffic
This time of year, they are simply more drivers on the road. People are out shopping or traveling to visit friends and family during the holidays more than any other time of the year.
Make sure your teenager knows that heavier traffic can mean a bigger risk of an accident. Tell them to drive the speed limit and be extremely cautious when traveling on interstates or roads with lots of vehicles.
2) Parking lot accidents
If your teen will be headed to the mall or shopping center, they may encounter overcrowded parking lots or decks, and an increased risk of car and truck accidents. Talk to them about the importance being cautious and remaining aware of their surroundings at all times. Tell them to slow down and check all their blind spots before pulling in or out of a parking spot.
3) Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs
While you may think your teenager would never drink or take drugs, studies show that most teens have experimented with them at least once. Remind your teenager that drunk drivers are out more during the holidays. Make sure they know that there are serious consequences for drinking and driving and that if they choose to do it, they could end up injuring himself or herself or someone else if they get into an accident. Let them know that they will lose their license and their privilege to drive if they are ever caught driving drunk.
Sit down with your teenager and come up with a plan that allows them to get home safely if there are ever in a situation of need.
4) Distracted driving
Distracted driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. Engaging in other activities while driving takes focus off of the road, and that can lead to an increased risk of being involved in an accident. Young drivers are some of the most easily distracted, especially if they are focusing on trying to finalize holiday plans with friends
Sit down and talk with your teenager to come up with a list of ways they can prevent distracted driving. Your teen is more likely to follow the rules if they help come up with solutions.
So before you hand the keys over to your teenage driver, talk to them about the threats that exist when traveling during the holiday season. Encouraging good safety habits is the best way to prepare your teen before getting behind the wheel.
If you, your child or a loved one was injured in a car accident while traveling for the holidays, contact our office today to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.