For recently licensed high school students, the summer months can be a time of exhilarating freedom. Many young adults will find that they have their first opportunities to truly spend time independent of their families, thanks to their license and their access to a vehicle.
During the school year, teenage lives are largely regulated by school and extracurricular activities. They have to deal with curfews and regimented daily schedules. The summer is an open expanse of time by comparison.
Unfortunately, the weeks between Memorial Day and Labor Day are referred to as the 100 Deadly Days of Summer because of the increased risk of crashes often caused by teenage drivers.
Known dangerous behaviors
According to an analysis by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, teen drivers both cause crashes and get into crashes related to problematic driving behaviors at higher rates during the summer months. These bad driving habits are the same risk factors that adults often deal with on the road, but teenagers will have less impulse control and less experience managing these risks.
The first risky behavior is speeding. Teenagers may go too fast for the thrill of it and not have the driving skill to stop or avoid a collision in time. Racing with friends can also be a dangerous behavior. Regardless of why they exceed the speed limit, they increase the risk to themselves and to others by doing so.
Impaired driving is also a risk for teenage drivers in the summer. Wild parties and trips to the beach could mean indulging in alcohol or experimenting with prohibited drugs. When teens choose to drive afterward, they run the risk of causing a crash that could cost them or someone else their lives. Finally, distracted driving plays a role in a number of fatal teen crashes. They may be so intent on communicating with their friends or setting up plans that they don't focus on safety.
Teen drivers cause risk for everyone
Knowing about this risk can help you talk to your teenage driver about staying safe this summer. Even if there isn't a young adult driver in your family, you will surely find yourself sharing the roads with quite a few teenagers and young adults this summer. Knowing what dangerous behaviors to watch for can help you stay safe on Virginia roads.