05 Jun Keeping Prom Night Safe
Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers ages 15 to 19. However, what some may not realize is that the risk of automobile fatalities increases in the months of April, May and June as teens start to celebrate prom, graduation and summer vacation. Excitement, nerves, alcohol, lack of sleep, and even restricting clothing are just some factors more prevalent during this time of the year that create challenging circumstances for new and inexperienced drivers.
Prom is one of the biggest nights of a teenager’s high school career. It is a night of celebration that encompasses all of the above factors. Prom dates might be nervous about picking up their dates, or overcome with excitement for the big night and therefore, they also may be running on minimal sleep. They may not be used to driving in stiff shoes, suits, or dresses, and there also is the possibility of them having alcohol in their system.
Statistics from Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that 90% of teens believe their peers are more likely to drink and drive on prom night. Interestingly, only 29% of these teens believe that driving on prom night comes with a high degree of danger, while 54% of these same students drank more than 4 drinks on prom night. According to the Century Council in Washington, in 2006, 714 youths across the US, under the age of 21 died in alcohol-related traffic fatalities during the months of April, May and June.
None of this needs to be the case, and there are a few things parents can do to help keep prom night safe:
- Use some other sort of transportation.
If possible, have your teen share a limo with their date and closest friends or drive them yourself! See them off as they embark on one of the most memorable nights of their life.
- Limit passengers.
If your teen is going to drive, limit the number of passengers they can have in the car with them. The risk of a crash increases with the presence of teen passengers. According to teendriversource.org, two or more peer passengers more than triples the risk of a fatal crash with a teen at the wheel.
- Create an escape plan.
Devise an escape plan with your teen in which they would call you to pick them up. Without an escape plan, teens may feel pressured into getting into a car with their friends, even if they feel unsafe.
It is important for your teen to understand that there are ways to stay safe on prom night. If you are interested in learning more about how to stay safe behind the wheel of your own vehicle, check out one of our car control and defensive driving courses and learn important tips from high-performance driving instructors.
Drive Safer offers a behind the wheel defensive driving course and two other defensive driving course options that meets the criteria to deduct points from your license AND get you an insurance reduction.