Stay Safe During This Summer’s 100 Deadliest Days
The most dangerous season for teenage drivers is happening now. Read this article to learn how big the risk is and how to stay safe during this year’s 100 deadliest days of summer.
Summertime is a favorite season for teenagers everywhere. School has been out, temperatures rise, and the days are longer. However, for a hundred beautiful summer days, a serious and unpredictable danger will claim the lives of dozens of teenagers. This danger is common to every American road and highway, and even though it could be easily prevented, it is likely that many will succumb to it this summer. Although this may sound like the trailer to a horror film, this morbid description accurately depicts a tragic, real-life scenario that repeats itself with grim regularity every summer.
The “one hundred deadliest days of summer” is a period of time between Memorial Day and Labor Day when fatal motor vehicle accidents involving teenage drivers rise by 15-17% in comparison to the rest of the year. According to the most recent statistics, the past five years have seen nearly 3,500 people killed in crashes involving teen drivers during the time period between these two summer holidays, as reported by the AAA Foundation. In 2016 alone, the number of people who lost their lives in crashes involving a teen driver averaged 10 fatalities every day.
Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers. In fact, teens have the highest vehicle crash rate of any age group. In addition, according to one source, teenagers are also disproportionately responsible for crashes “resulting in the deaths of others, including passengers, pedestrians or occupants of other vehicles.” It’s important to spread the word about the commencement of 100 deadliest days of summer so that drivers can use extra caution on the road. A little awareness and effort on the part of all drivers, especially young ones can go a long way toward preventing a tragic accident. If you are a young driver or the parent of one, read this article to identify the key dangers related to teen driving and stay safe during this year’s 100 deadliest days of summer.
As much as 60% of all car crashes involving teenage drivers are caused by distracted driving. There’s no denying that we live in a world filled with distractions. We may immediately think of cell phone use while driving, however, even though 12% of teen crashes were in fact caused by texting or talking on a cell phone, electronic devices are not the only dangerous distraction – nor are they the most dangerous one. 15% of teenage distracted driving accidents were caused by a driver being distracted by other passengers of the car. In fact, even seemingly simple actions such as fiddling with the radio or eating can become a dangerous distraction for a driver.
Therefore, in order to stay safe during this summer’s 100 deadliest, stay clear of all distractions. It is important to remember that New Mexico law strictly prohibits texting or typing on a mobile device while driving. Additionally, drivers holding a learner’s permit or provisional license are completely prohibited from using their mobile phones while driving – whether handheld or hands-free. As a teenage driver, leave your phone in your pocket or bag for the duration of your drive – for the sake of your own safety as well as the safety of other users of the road.
Do Not Speed
While distracted driving is the most common cause of all teenage accidents, speeding is by far the deadliest. According to AAA, out of all fatal summer accidents involving teens, 28% percent are caused by speeding. Speeding is a common vice among young drivers. In one study conducted by AAA, almost half of teen drivers polled admitted to speeding on a residential street in the past 30 days and nearly 40 percent said they had sped on the freeway.
In New Mexico, general speed limits are 75 miles per hour on highways, 35 miles per hour in business and residential districts, and 15 miles per hour in a posted school zone. As a teenage driver, remember that ignoring these limits can be deadly. Additionally, it is important to remember that when driving at night or in difficult or dangerous conditions, a driver must adjust and reduce speed in order to stay safe.
Never Drink and Drive
In New Mexico, just like in other states, alcohol cannot be legally sold to anyone under age 21. Nevertheless, one in six teenage drivers involved in fatal crashes during the 100 deadliest days of summer, or more than 16 percent, tested positive for alcohol. Even though some teenagers may think they can handle driving under the influence of alcohol, the evidence shows otherwise. For example, the reaction time of a person with a blood alcohol level within the legal limit (BAC 0.08) increases by 120 milliseconds. While this may not seem like much, when driving at 70 miles per hour, a driver with this BAC will travel for an additional 12 feet before reacting to a danger on the road. Even small amounts of alcohol can, therefore, make a difference between having a safe journey and getting into a fatal accident. The bottom line? Never drink and drive, even if you don’t feel drunk.
A Word for Parents
Parents can do much to keep their children safe during the 100 deadliest days of summer. The best way to help your teenager avoid deadly driving mistakes such as those mentioned in this article is to talk to them about the dangers and the consequences of recklessness on the road. A good idea may be to draft a parent-teen agreement, establishing rules the young driver will need to follow while using their car. Many websites contain materials that can help parents prepare their children for the dangers of summer driving. However, parents need to remember that the best way to keep their children safe is to teach good driving habits by their own example. That way, parents will be able to trust that their children will be safe drivers, not only this summer but for life.