The Deadliest Holiday
Enjoying Independence Day in the Tennessee Valley is easy. Between the barbecues, pools, gatherings with family & friends, and fireworks shows, there’s hardly a shortage for fun and things to do. But before you start planning your holiday, take a moment to read this post. [sws_pullquote_right]July 4th is the deadliest holiday for Americans on the road – especially teens. [/sws_pullquote_right]
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, July 4th is the deadliest holiday for Americans on the road – especially teens. The holiday claimed more than 800 lives in traffic-related deaths during 2006-2010, with Alabama losing 71 lives in July alone.
As parents, it can be easy to worry about illness or health issues our children might face, but in the U.S., car crashes are the number one cause of death for everyone ages 1-34, with teens crashing four times more often than any other age group. Teens account for nearly 10 percent of the fatalities that occur on July 4 and are particularly susceptible to fatal distracted driving incidents. Research from The Allstate Foundation found that 49% report that texting is their biggest distraction behind the wheel. When teens text it’s just as deadly for the motorists that will be driving alongside them.
“These tragedies are compounded by the fact that many crashes are preventable,” stated Tracy Owens, Southeast Region Corporate Relations Manager. Driver error, speeding and distractions are the main causes of crashes, and seemingly simple activities such as switching radio stations or interacting with friends can significantly impair a teen’s or adult’s ability to react quickly to changing traffic conditions. Staying focused on the road, wearing seat belts and following the speed limit and other road rules are simple steps we can all take this July 4 to make sure that we return home safely.”
Using Allstate’s Teen Safe Driving program, parents in particular can take simple steps to help their teens be safer on the road:
Talk to your teen early and often.
Discuss the risks and responsibilities of driving with your child at a young age and keep talking to your teen before, during and after the licensing process. This discussion should have the same – or even higher priority level – as discussing sex and drugs.
Don’t rush the training process.
Just because teens have a permit or license doesn’t mean they are ready for every driving condition. By easing into the training process, you’ll help ensure you and your teen will be ready for any situation.
Understand your state’s laws.
Every state has graduated driver licensing to help new drivers get their initial on-the-road driving experience under lower-risk conditions, protecting them while they are learning. Familiarize yourself and your teen with these requirements, and establish your own rules for when, where, how and with whom your teen may drive by creating a Parent-Teen Driving Contract. Even after receiving their license, some teens are not prepared to drive on their own – only you can decide when your teen is ready to drive without adult supervision.
Practice what you preach.
Be a positive role model when you’re behind the wheel. Your teen is more likely to be a calm and courteous driver, wear a seat belt and follow the rules of the road if they see you do the same.
And for heaven’s sake, DON’T text and drive.
Rocket City Mom is a website about raising children in and around Huntsville, Alabama. Started in late 2010 by a local mom and newcomer to Huntsville, Rocket City Mom has grown into a thriving community of local parents and now boasts a staff of four, thirteen regular contributors, and tens of thousands of Tennessee Valley readers making it the #1 Parenting Resource in North Alabama.
Excellent article! I hope everyone stays safe out there tomorrow!