Tips for Students and Parents
Safe driving tips to avoid car accidents during graduation are simple but easily overlooked. Whether it’s graduation from high school or college, grad ceremonies are all lumped into a small time frame in May and June. Of course it’s one of the most exciting times in a young person’s life, the pride of parents and no doubt these celebrations recognize and reward students for their hard work and major achievements. However, an exciting night of celebrating can become a tragedy when people are involved in a car accident due to drunk driving or otherwise impaired due to distracted driving behind the wheel.
On Cape Cod, it’s also the start of the summer season when traffic and the population essentially quadruple. Another contributing factor is the new law in Massachusetts making it legal to possess and use cannabis. Both medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are legal in the Commonwealth. Driving high whether it’s from drugs or alcohol have serious consequences that could last a lifetime. Here are some responsible tips for parents and students to help ensure a happy and safe graduation season.
Drunk Driving Kills. Drugged Driving Kills. Designate A Sober Driver!
Any student who is graduating from high school will most likely be under 21 years old and should not be drinking alcohol or smoking pot because it’s illegal if you’re not 21. However, underage drinking and drug use do occur, and it is critically important for teenage drivers to understand the dangers of driving while under the influence (DUI), as well as getting into a vehicle with a drunk or otherwise impaired driver. It only takes one car accident to ruin the lives of all of those involved.
Parents should explain to their young drivers the importance of ALWAYS having a designated sober driver. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving has been the cause of nearly half of motor vehicle accident fatalities in Massachusetts in recent years.
Tips for Graduates:
- Buckle up!
- Don’t drive drunk/drugged
- Never get into a vehicle with a driver under the influence
- Designate a sober driver
- Don’t Speed, follow the rules of the road
- Have a backup plan (Uber, Lyft or locally A Helping Van)
Tips for Parents:
- Educate your teen about drunk/drugged driving
- Drop off and pick up if necessary
- Have phone numbers of your teen’s friends
- Offer a “no questions asked” ride in case they are in a jam
- Provide a ride through Uber, Lyft or even a cab
- Avoid Distracted Driving. It Can Wait.
Distracted Driving is perhaps the biggest cause of car accidents these days. It’s important to educate your children about the dangers of driving distracted and that focusing on the road is priority one. Here are some examples to look out for.
- Smart Phones/iTunes – Your average teenager has been around smartphones, tablets and other devices for nearly their entire life. They can hardly put the phone down for a moment because they’re excited to respond or are worried that they might miss something. They have become conditioned to respond ‘on demand’. Driving while texting, messaging, talking or fiddling with their tunes can be a deadly distraction.
- Passengers – When trying to focus on the road, a teenager’s best friends can be their worst enemies. For a new driver, being in a chaotic environment can take their attention away from the road and lead to tragic results in a split second. Tell your teen driver that it’s okay to ask their friends to respect their duty as the driver.
- Applying Make-up / Grooming – It may seem harmless, but those last minute primps and applications in the mirror are a distraction. Wait until your vehicle is safely parked before putting on those finishing touches.
- Eating, Drinking and Vaping – Managing messy food, coffee or drink cups, wrappers and vape paraphernalia while driving significantly raises the potential for a car accident. Drivers who indulge en route have a greatly reduced ability to deal with sudden factors which could lead to a car accident.
Seatbelts and Speed
No matter how much we prepare our kids to do the right thing, there is always a possibility that an accident could be caused by someone else driving under the influence or distracted driving. This is why it’s imperative to emphasize the importance of wearing a seatbelt while driving or riding in a motor vehicle and the critical lecture and constant reminders against speeding. It has been proven time and time again that SEATBELTS SAVE LIVES in car accidents.
Tragically, the parents, fellow graduates and the community of Bridgewater know how sacred life is after a terrible car crash resulted in the death of four teens only mere days before graduation.
Buckle up and focus on driving, all the rest can wait.