Summer is here, and while that means more freedom and fun for teens, it also ushers in the "100 Deadliest Days" — a stretch of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day when fatal teen crashes see a concerning spike.
According to a recent study by AAA, new teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than adults, and 31% of these crashes occur during the 100 Deadliest Days. While this is certainly alarming, there are steps you can take to avoid becoming a statistic. These five essential driving habits can help you stay safe behind the wheel this summer.
1. Drive at Safe Speeds
Zipping around in a car might feel thrilling, but remember, the speedometer isn't a high score you're trying to beat. Going over the speed limit isn't just unlawful, it's a major risk factor for fatal accidents.
Research shows that speeding is a factor in nearly 30% of all fatal car accidents, killing approximately 33 people each day. The faster you're going, the less time you have to react to unexpected road situations. Since the impact of a high-speed crash can be fatal, it's crucial to maintain safe speeds, even when others around you are rushing.
2. Limit Distractions
Music blasting, friends laughing, phone notifications dinging — these distractions can seem like part of a normal drive, but the statistics tell a sobering story. Sadly, as many as nine people are killed every day in crashes that involve distracted driving — that’s over 3,000 people each year.
When you're in the driver's seat, the road deserves your full attention, not your social media feed or the latest chat with friends. Always make a conscious effort to minimize distractions and focus on safe driving.
3. Practice Defensive Driving
Defensive driving is like having a shield around your car. It's about anticipating potential hazards and making safe decisions. This includes maintaining a safe following distance, observing what other drivers are doing, and always having an escape route.
This method of driving can significantly lower your risk of accidents and help you navigate traffic more smoothly. Cultivating a habit of defensive driving can make you a safer and more confident driver during these 100 dangerous days and beyond.
4. Respect Traffic Rules
Traffic rules aren't optional. From staying in your lane and using turn signals to stopping fully at stop signs — these basic rules keep us all safe. Ignoring important traffic rules can lead to accidents, even if you're lucky most of the time.
Remember that traffic rules are more than just signs and lights, they're our guide to staying safe on the road. Ignoring them is a risk not worth taking.
5. Always Drive Sober
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (yes, this includes marijuana) is not just illegal, it's deadly. Car crashes are the number one cause of death for teens, and about 25% of fatal crashes involve an underage driver with alcohol in their system.
Even being slightly buzzed can impair your driving ability, so just don’t do it. Not only is it extremely dangerous, but many states also impose strict penalties for drinking and driving when you’re underage.
Drive Safely This Summer!
This summer, you have the power to change the narrative. By sticking to these five habits, you can transform the 100 Deadliest Days into 100 days of safe driving. Remember, these tips aren’t just for summer — they’re for life.
When it comes to becoming a skilled and responsible driver, quality driver's education is key. It provides the knowledge, skills, and confidence necessary for a lifetime of safe driving. Check out Aceable's online driver's education courses. They're designed to make good driving habits stick while making learning fun. Let's make this summer memorable for the right reasons!