4th of July weekend travel tips for parents of teen drivers

Posted at 12:12 PM, Jul 03, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-03 12:12:43-04

Virginia Beach, VA – With July being the second deadliest month of the year and the 4th of July weekend coming up, AAA has offered some tips for parents of teen drivers as they travel.

  • Eliminate trips without purpose. Limit teens’ driving to essential trips and only with parental permission for at least the first year of driving. Teens have three times as many fatal crashes as other drivers, based on the amount of miles driven.  The risk is even higher, during the first year of solo driving.
  • Limit passengers. Crash rates increase with each additional teen passenger in the vehicle. In fact, fatal crash rates for 16- to 19-year-olds increase fivefold when two or more teen passengers are present versus when teens drive alone. Parents should establish passenger limits for their teen drivers.  In Virginia only one teen passenger under the age of 21 (not including family members) is allowed during the first year of solo driving.
  • Restrict night driving. A teen driver’s risk of being involved in a deadly crash doubles at night. Many parents limit driving during the highest-risk late night hours ( between midnight and 5 am) but may want to consider limiting evening driving as well, as more than half of nighttime crashes occur between 9 p.m. and midnight.
  • Teach your teens how to drive. Summer offers the perfect opportunity for teens to practice driving and to gain experience through parent-supervised driving practice.  Parents can share their wisdom and experience accumulated over many years of driving. Even after a teen has a license that allows solo driving, parents and teens should continue to practice ‘commentary driving’ to help teens manage increasingly more complex and challenging driving conditions.
  • Establish a parent-teen driving agreement. Written agreements help set and enforce clear rules about night driving, passengers, access to the car, and more. AAA offers a parent-teen driving agreement on its teen driver safety website.
  • Be there. Make sure your teen knows that if they need help, advice, or a ride, they can count on you. Extend this offer often and let your teen know that you are always available, and encourage them to call you should they need your help.

AAA expects over 1.2 million people across Virginia to be hitting the road to celebrate Independence Day this year, so use these tips to ensure a safe holiday weekend for you and your teen.

– Brittney Banks