Many teen drivers will use their vehicles most frequently to get to and from school and extracurricular activities, like practice for athletic teams. The early morning start times for high school courses can mean that teen drivers are quite tired on the roads in the morning, as most teenagers naturally have a circadian rhythm that prompts them to stay up late and sleep in every morning.
Given that school and sports typically stop for the summer, you might assume that teen crash rates drop during the summer. After all, teen drivers will have less time on the road and be able to honor their biological clocks regarding when they get out of bed in the morning.
However, the statistics say that the exact opposite is true. The hundred days between Memorial Day and Labor Day have been the most dangerous days on the road for teen drivers over the last few decades. Why are the summer months so dangerous?
Summer gives teenagers an opportunity to party
One of the biggest risk factors for major teenage crashes is alcohol. During the school year, young adults can usually only have large gatherings on weekends or over school breaks.
During the summer months, young adults could host a Thursday night party where everyone gets as crazy as they might on a Saturday night during the school year. Alcohol and drug consumption at parties can contribute to fatal crashes when those young adults try to make it home before curfew.
Many young adults socialize in their vehicles
Having the freedom to go where you want with your friends is exciting and new in the later years of someone’s high school education. Many young adults can barely wait to go out and just drive around aimlessly with their friends during the summer. Having other young adults in the vehicle can be a dangerous distraction, and the same is true for the conversations or sing-alongs they may enjoy in the vehicle with their friends.
As a parent, you can help protect your teen driver from risk this summer by limiting how many people they take in their vehicle or even agreeing to pick them up from a party if they call because they know they shouldn’t drive.
Being realistic about your teenager’s risk for a motor vehicle collision can help guide them safely into adulthood.