Disclaimer – I have a material and/or financial connection because I received a gift, sample of a product and/or compensation for consideration in preparing to write this content. All opinions stated within are my own.
While most people may assume that teens driving in the thick of winter – when it’s dark, cold and wet – would be more dangerous than driving on sunny, warm days, it’s actually the summer months that are the most dangerous. In fact, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is considered the 100 deadliest days for teen drivers as this is when they are on the road more than any other time during the year. In 2013 alone, 371,645 people were injured and 2,927 were killed in crashes that involved a teen driver.
Teens simply haven’t had enough time behind the wheel to become proficient drivers and manage situations such as slippery roads, fog and distracted drivers who might swerve into their lane. According to National Driver Training, statistics show that five major causes of night traffic fatalities are defective rear lights, defective headlights, fog, driver fatigue and intoxication. While it’s hard to get teens to listen to you, here are some pointers that could very well help save their life as well as their passenger or the other driver.
SLOW DOWN! – Speeding is a major contributor to fatal teen accidents. In fact speeding occurs in 33% of all fatal crashes. Teens feel they have control of the situation but underestimate how slow they’re reaction time can be if someone brakes quickly or switches lanes without warning.
Distractions come in many forms – While the most common distractions are talking on the phone or texting any activity that takes your eyes off the road for even a second could cause a crash. This includes eating, changing a radio station or turning on your GPS and checking yourself out in the mirror! According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it takes a vehicle going 55 mph approximately 265 feet to stop, and you must hit the brakes within one to 1.5 seconds of seeing an obstacle in order to avoid it. At night, every extra inch of visibility matters.
Drive alone – Distractions aren’t just objects and activities but people too. In fact having a single teen passenger in your car can double the risk of causing a car accident. Adding additional teen passengers causes the risk to escalate. Many states have graduated licenses which prohibit the number of passengers a teen driver can have in the car and limiting night time driving. Teen Driver Source notes that states with nighttime restrictions in place have reported up to a 60 percent reduction in crashes during the restricted hours.
See and be seen – Headlights are a driver’s first line of defense for any obstacles on the road, as seeing an object sooner and more clearly allows for more reaction time and a better decision. It’s important to have headlights in proper, working order to ensure obstacles can be seen, with the best lighting available if possible. If you can’t remember the last time you replaced your bulbs, it is probably time to do so. Upgrading to better down road headlight bulbs can help add more visibility, which can equate to additional reaction time. Every foot counts and every second matters. Headlights, like SYLVANIA SilverStar® ULTRAs, provide a brighter light for more clarity which helps maximize downroad visibility. A simple upgrade can make a better driving experience. Without increasing glare or affecting other drivers on the road.
Put it in writing – Develop a contract with your teens about your expectations for when they’re behind the wheel.
Keeping our teens safe behind the wheel is one of the top concerns for parents. Help keep them safe and arm them with proper information. The SYLVANIA Automotive Lighting #TravelSafe campaign is working to spread the message of how important safety is during this busy travel period.