According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the deadliest days of the year for teens aged 15 to 19 are in the summer months of June, July, and August. As summer approaches, AutoTrader.com, the ultimate automotive marketplace, aims to draw parents’ attention to this issue by outlining important tips to help parents keep teens safe while driving this summer.
“Most safe driving tips are packed full of ideas that seem obvious to most people; however, what seems obvious to an adult with even a few years of driving experience, may not be obvious to a teen driver,” said Brian Moody, automotive expert at AutoTrader.com. “At AutoTrader.com, we review and test-drive nearly every car on the market, and safety is always a top feature we look for. It is imperative for parents to equip their teens with the right tools, technology and education on how to be a safe driver.”
- Pick 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. A teen driver may lack the skills to cope with evasive maneuvers in a big truck. Parents should opt for something that sits close to the ground (to minimize rollover risk) and something that isn’t overly powerful.
- Educate Teens on Car Maintenance. With the radio playing the summer’s top tunes, 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.
- Say it Again: 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 aged 5 to 34. Furthermore, the CDC says that drivers who buckle their seat belts cut their chances in half of being seriously injured or killed in a crash. Reiterate the importance of wearing a seatbelt, and note that technology can also help. For example, some Ford vehicles can be equipped with the MyKey feature, making 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.
- Discourage Distracted Driving. 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.
- Discourage Over-Use of 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.