Graduation is one of the most exciting days as a teenager. You long for the day of finishing school, you finally make it, and you want to celebrate with your friends. Although it is definitely something to be proud of, when celebrating graduation, safety must be in your forethought. Similar to that of prom night, graduation night is another risky time for teen drivers.
In 2016, data from the NHTSA showed that 16% of 15-18 year old drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. As graduation night nears, it is important to discuss with your teen the dangers of graduation night and teach them that safety is crucial when they are out celebrating.
Don’t Drink & Drive
Alcohol-related crashes are the leading cause of death for young people age 15 to 21. Graduation night is a tempting time as a teen to consume alcohol, so it is important to discuss the huge risks that come with drinking and driving. Teens typically don't think about how their lives can be impacted from drinking and driving. Take time to talk with your teen about the importance of staying sober on graduation night.
Keep Your Friends Accountable
Even if you make the right decision not to drink and drive, it does not mean that everyone will. Keep your friends accountable by taking their keys if they are about to drive drunk and never get in the vehicle with someone that has been drinking.
Buckling your seat belt is the best way to prevent injury if you are involved in an accident. A passenger that isn’t buckled up has an increased risk of injury in a car wreck.
Turn Down The Music
Music is one of the most distracting components for any driver, but especially a teen driver. We get it, you are excited and you want to celebrate, however, extremely loud music can cause you to completely lose focus of the road, resulting in an accident. Turn the music down, so that the person driving can focus on the road, and you can celebrate when you reach your destination!
Set Clear Rules
Before graduation even arrives, it can be helpful to establish clear expectations of your teen and monitor their whereabouts. Being strict about drinking underage and drinking and driving is necessary.
Don't Provide Alcohol
Although this is completely illegal, it isn't unheard of. To prevent the likelihood of your teen consuming alcohol, do not provide them with it.
Let Them Depend On You
Many teens become fearful when they find themselves in a risky situation. Even when they want out, they may be too afraid to call you in fear of getting in trouble. It's important to let your teen know that they can depend on you no matter the time of night. Let them know that they can call you and you will pick them up if needed. When you let your teen know that they can depend on you without being afraid, it can help prevent driving under the influence.
Require Open Communication
Having open communication about where your teen is, who they are with, and what they are doing can help relieve stress from the both of you. Now that they are graduated, teens believe that they have a new sense of freedom. Whether you want to allow that full freedom or not, it is still important to have open communication with your teen.
Graduation night is supposed to be a fun night full of celebration. Keep the celebrating safe this year by following the tips above!