My daughter just turned sixteen a week ago and that means two things are coming up: driving and prom! As families are getting ready for prom this year, ordering flowers and shopping for dresses, it’s important to add the safe driver/safe rider conversation to the to do list. Below are just a few pointers from Dr. Gene Beresin, Senior Advisor on adolescent psychiatry with SADD and Executive Director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Mass General Hospital:
- Drive now, Snap later. Two out of three teens admit to using apps while driving.* Remind teens that using apps or taking photos while driving is just as dangerous as texting while driving. Phones should be kept out of sight to avoid potential distractions. 27 percent of teens today still report texting and driving. When asked to rank the driving behaviors they perceived to be most dangerous, looking at or posting to social media apps ranked much lower as compared to texting and driving or driving under the influence of alcohol, for example.
- Extended curfews mean tired teens. After a long and exciting prom day, teens are bound to be tired. 36 percent of teens have taken measures to wake up (i.e., opening up the windows) when driving.* Remind teens to call for a ride if they’re too tired to drive home late at night, and reassure them that you will pick them up no matter what time it is.
- Passengers on prom night. Energetic prom-goers can be distracting passengers. Speak with teens about how many friends they can drive with on prom night and remind them that distractions can come from inside the car too.
- Talk with teens. Set clear expectations for prom night so your teen will stay safe and you can worry less.
*Liberty Mutual Insurance and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) 2016 Teen Driving Study.
Liberty Mutual’s Teen Driving Contract acts as a conversation-starter and customized agreement for parents and teens to get on the same page this prom season.
One thing that I do, and will always tell my daughter, is that if she gets in trouble, I will ALWAYS come get her, consequence free. Her safety is the most important thing!
How do you help teach your teenagers to drive safe?