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5 Tips to Keep Your Teen Safe this Labor Day

5 Tips to Keep Your Teen Safe this Labor Day

In the United States, Labor Day weekend is one of the last moments of summer. It’s the last chance for many families to soak up time at the lake before colder weather sets in, and the school year gets busy. On top of being the sign that fall is coming, Labor Day also marks the end of the 100 Deadliest Days for drivers.

AAA describes the 100 Deadliest Days for drivers as the time span between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Others besides Labor Day include the Fourth of July and the days past Memorial Day when many high school graduations are found. 

The reason for the seriousness of driving these few months is found with the timing of summer vacation as well the Fourth of July. With the extra time, more teens are hitting the road. And some are choosing to drink and drive.

These factors combined, raise a teen driver’s chance of being a part of a fatal car crash.

In fact, during the 100 Deadliest Days in 2016, more than 1,050 people were killed in a car crash with a teenaged driver. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety averages that results in 10 people dying per day. That’s a 14% increase in comparison with the rest of 2016.

Many of these young teen drivers may be involved in more crashes because of their inexperience behind the wheel or for other reasons.

Looking at the Labor Day holiday alone in 2016, NHTSA found that 43% of the day’s fatal crashes involved a driver who had been drinking.

Add that with the 2010 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report that an estimated that 5.8% of new teen drivers drove while under the influence of alcohol. And 15.1% of people from the age of 18-20 were also driving while drunk.

Many of these teenagers who were drinking may have been some of the drivers out on the road.

Labor Day weekend is a great chance to celebrate the end of summer. But everyone should make sure to stay safe throughout the summer and holiday weekend.

AAA outlines several ways that all drivers can stay safe this holiday weekend for all drivers. Parents should make sure that cars have enough gas for travel and that tires are properly filled with air.

Parents should also consider having some conversations with their teenagers before the weekend begins.

While talking about underage drinking can be awkward right before a holiday weekend, it’s a very important topic. To help you get started, we gathered a list of things to talk through with your teen before the Labor Day festivities.

Talk to your teen about underage drinking.

Make sure that your teen knows that it is illegal for them to drink under the age of 21. Parents should also discuss boundaries with their teen. Make sure to let teens know the expectations you have for their behavior. Set any boundaries you have on underage drinking so that teens can know what your rules are.

You can also ask your teen to reflect on the summer. Encourage them to think about all of the good times they have had that haven’t involved alcohol. Or ask them if they’ve made a choice or seen a friend make a choice to drink this summer that they later regretted.

Talk to your teen about drunk driving.

After talking about alcohol, it’s also a good idea to discuss drinking and driving with your teen.

Let them know that if they are somewhere where there is alcohol that they can call you or a trusted adult for help. Remember, always keep communication open with your teen about alcohol. Answer the questions that they have as best you can.

Ask if they have heard of anyone their age who has been impacted by a person who chose to drive drunk. How did that driver’s choice impact other people? What has happened to the people involved? Do they think something like that could happen to them if they chose to drink and drive?

Outline the consequences.

Drunk driving is also something to talk about. Remind your teen that an MIP or a DWI are serious things and should not be taken lightly. They may impact them for much of their life.

Additionally, remind your teen that if they make the choice to drive drunk they aren’t just putting themselves at risk. They are also making it more dangerous for everyone who is driving around them.

By driving drunk they can injure themselves as well as seriously hurt other people.

Encourage them to avoid late-night driving.

Another way to keep your teen safe is to encourage them to avoid driving later in the evening during the holiday weekend. Many of the most dangerous hours to drive on Labor Day weekend occur after the sun has gone down.

Encourage your child to have sleepovers, stay in or let you or another trusted parent drive. By doing this you can help them stay safe and they still get to enjoy their holiday weekend.

Remind them that there’s plenty to do.

Labor Day is also a great time to remind your teen that the majority of teenagers their age don’t drink. And they don’t have to drink in order to enjoy the holiday. There are many things they can do with friends to make the weekend memorable.

Additionally, remind your teen to surround themselves with good friends that will help them make safe choices.

By choosing not to drink, they have a safe and fun holiday weekend. And they’ll be keeping themselves and those around them safe from the dangerous consequences of drinking underage.

Kaitlyn Inman
kaitlyn@missourisafeandsober.com
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