For those still in school, the summer is a time of incredible freedom. High school students with driver’s licenses, in particular, may relish their newfound liberty on the open road with no school obligations to take up their time every day.
Unfortunately, all of that freedom leads to bad decisions and deadly car crashes. The summer is the riskiest time of the year for young drivers. How can you keep your teenage drivers safe without completely destroying their summer plans?
Talk with your young driver bluntly about the risks of alcohol
The vast majority of teenagers will try alcohol at least once before they finish high school. Some teenagers will consume far too much and may then make the bad decision to try to get home rather than spend the night and risk getting in trouble.
You should remind your teenager that drinking is illegal and could result in getting arrested. Make sure they understand that you have a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving. If you ever find out that they have a drink and then get behind the wheel, you need to commit to punishing them significantly by immediately terminating their driving privileges.
You can combine that stick with a carrot by letting your teen know that while you don’t want them to call you wasted from parties, you will always come to get them if they are drunk and need help. Make sure they understand that honestly asking for help will mean they don’t get punished, whereas drunk driving could mean long-term consequences.
Establish and enforce a few common-sense driving restrictions
Driving late at night or with a bunch of other teenagers in the car is far more dangerous for young drivers than driving by themselves during the day. Limiting teen drivers to only one passenger or no passengers can be a good rule to help them avoid distractions that could cause a crash. A curfew can help as well.
Additionally, a zero-tolerance policy for texting or using a phone at the wheel can help protect your team from the risks of distracted driving. Make sure that you have real consequences for violations of these rules and enforce them when you catch your teen breaking them. Rules may make you seem like an uncool parent, but they can also help protect your new driver from a life-altering car crash.