According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the deadliest days of the year for teens ages 15 to 19 are in the summer months of June, July, and August, so as summer approaches, AutoTrader.com aims to draw attention to this issue by outlining important tips to help keep teens safe while driving this summer.
1. Choose the Right Car
Keeping teens safe on the road starts with ensuring they have the right car. While many teens inherit their parent's vehicle as their first car – mainly due to simplicity and cost efficiency – parents should step back and thoughtfully consider their choice, keeping safety top of mind. For example, SUVs and trucks behave differently on the road than coupes and sedans. Consider a vehicle that sits close to the ground to minimize rollover risks, as well as a vehicle that isn't overly powerful.
2. Educate Teens About Car Maintenance
It's easy for teens to miss important car maintenance signs, therefore, parents should add car maintenance - such as checking tire pressure and fluids - to their list of things to discuss with their teens. Even if just one tire has low pressure, it can dramatically change the way a car handles. Also, parents should be sure that their teen drivers check all fluids like window washing fluid, coolant, oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid. Making sure these fluids are properly maintained can help prevent a breakdown far from home.
3. Seatbelts Save Lives
Obvious tip? Not to one in every seven drivers that still don't wear their seatbelts. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), automotive accidents are the number one cause of death in the U.S. among people who are 5 to 34. The CDC also reports that that drivers who buckle their seat belts cut their chances in half of being seriously injured or killed in a automobile crash. Note that technology can also help - for example, some Ford vehicles can be equipped with the MyKey feature, make it possible for parents to limit certain aspects of their teen's car. With MyKey, top speed, radio volume and seatbelt chime parameters can be altered.
4. Don't Get Distracted
According to Distraction.Gov, cell phone use was reported in 18% of distracted-related fatalities in America. Additionally, having multiple passengers, changing iPod tracks or operating the car's navigation system can be just as dangerous. Parents should discuss all the ways drivers can be distracted with their teens to help keep them safe on the road.
5. Cruise Past the Cruise Control
Cruise control can work well on long trips and may even limit driver fatigue., however, teen drivers who may be more likely to stay out late should limit the use of cruise control at night. The lack of engagement might lead to a slightly drowsy driver falling asleep more quickly.