Protecting Your Teen Driver During Summer Break

June 3, 2024

Summer break marks the end of the school year and the beginning of summer independence for high schoolers with driver’s licenses. The NHTSA has found that from 1982-2020, Kentucky had the most teenage driving deaths in the country. The freedom that comes with driving also introduces increased risks for teenage drivers and heightened concern for parents. Our vehicle accident attorneys in Kentucky have put together practical tips to help protect your teen driver, as they begin their driving adventure.

Understand the Risks of Driving

Summer months, particularly between Memorial Day and Labor Day, are known as the “100 Deadliest Days” for teen drivers due to a higher incidence of accidents. Teen drivers are more likely to be distracted by friends, mobile phones, and other in-car activities. One careless moment is all it takes to have an accident.

Inexperience is a significant factor in many teen driving accidents. Teen drivers by virtue of their newly minted status lack the reflexes and focus that the experience of hundreds of hours behind the wheel gives every seasoned driver. While experience will grow slowly with each driving trip taken, it is important to establish careful and safe driving practices that, hopefully, will become ingrained in your teen driver over time. 

Late night driving when visibility is poorer and sheer tiredness takes its toll is often a more dangerous time to be on the road, especially for teens. Implementing a driving curfew to limit late-night driving is a good practice to ensure that your teen is awake, fully alert, and able to concentrate on their driving when they are on their own. 

Distractibility either by phones, apps, or friends in the car, is also a leading source of accidents among teen drivers. Limiting the number of passengers your teen can have in the car may help to reduce distractions and allow your teen to better focus on the road, keeping everyone in the car safer. Explain to your child that having friends in the car can be distracting. Set a rule that they can only have one friend in the car at a time. This reduces the chances of peer pressure and distraction.

Phone use is another ever-present risk for all drivers, not just teens. Establishing good habits and limits on phone use while driving is an excellent way to maximize your driver’s focus behind the wheel. Many phone operating systems offer driving focus features that can be activated which will limit interruptions, such as messages and calls to let the driver better concentrate while driving.

Safe Driving Practices

Since your teen is a relatively new driver, you may want to see if there are any advanced driving courses in your area. This is a great summer activity for them. Advanced driving courses focus on defensive driving techniques and emergency maneuvers. Some courses offer simulators that provide experience in handling different driving conditions, which could be helpful to a new or nervous teen driver. Additionally, many insurance companies offer discounts for completing such courses, providing an added incentive for your teen to take them.

There can be no substitute for modeling safe driving behaviors in front of your teen, starting from a young age. Always follow traffic laws and drive responsibly. Your teen is more likely to adopt safe driving habits if they see you practicing them. Show them that you prioritize everyone’s safety by not using your phone or other distractions while driving. 

You can also build trust with your teen driver by encouraging frequent check-ins, discussing their driving experiences, any challenges they have faced behind the wheel, and how they can improve. Focus on being non-judgmental in these discussions so your teen is comfortable sharing their mistakes without fear of harsh punishment. Ask open-ended questions like, “How did your driving go this week?” or “Did you encounter any challenging situations?” This gives them the chance to problem solve their next possible encounter before it happens on the road. 

Protecting your teen driver during the summer months requires a combination of clear rules, open communication, and leading by example. By understanding the risks and taking proactive steps, you can help ensure your teen has a safe and enjoyable summer. Remember, the goal is not just to enforce rules but to instill lifelong safe driving habits. With your guidance and support, your teen can navigate the roads safely and confidently.

Vehicle Accident Attorneys in Kentucky

If your teen is involved in an auto accident, our team of Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC vehicle accident attorneys in Kentucky, is here to help you understand your rights, explore your options and help you pursue the compensation you deserve. Call us at (270) 444-0406 or (270) 753-1529 for a free consultation.  Our offices are conveniently located in Paducah and Murray.




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Teen driving a car - Vehicle accident attorneys in Kentucky Saladino & Schaaf, PLLC




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