Nobody wants a holiday ruined with personal tragedy. As we swing into the 4th of July, let's take a few minutes to remember some critical advice we can give to our kids (and ourselves) when it comes to driver safety. Unfortunately, statistics show that the 4th of July is far deadlier with respect to traffic fatalities than just your ordinary day of driving.
1. Remind our teens to stay focused on the road and obey driving laws. This sounds like a no-brainer, but industry experts agree that the best advice for drivers of any age is to stay focused, follow the speed limit, wear seatbelts and use common sense.
2. Talk with your teen. Sticking your head in the sand is for dummies. While they are passengers in your vehicle talk to them about driving, about handling unexpected circumstances, and about safe driving practices. Kids listen, even when you think they aren't. Don't wait until they are driving to start these conversations, and don't stop having them just because they have their license.
3. Be patient. It takes time to become a skilled driver. Don't let your teen start driving in full blown traffic jam conditions if you know they aren't ready for it. You may receive some teen angst, but in reality you do everyone a disservice if you allow an unprepared teen to navigate holiday traffic.
4. Do what you say. Do you tell your teen not to text and drive (don't drive intexticated), but find yourself answering your iPhone while you're on the highway? Do you tell your teen not to back out of a parking spot without looking out, but find yourself failing to turn your head around to get the best view of where you are going? A lesson is far more effective if it is heard and seen, instead of just heard.
On average, 93 to 100 people lose their lives on any given day on U.S. roads and highways. But on Independence Day, that number jumps up considerably to an average of about 140 people from 2006 to 2010. Some of the things that lead to this spike are alcohol consumption, speeding, mental distractions (how cool is that party going to be), top the list according to industry experts.
Let's all do our part to keep our children safe this 4th and celebrate our Independence in a responsible manner.