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Advice for teens, parents on driving during prom, graduation season

Every parent wants their teen to arrive home safely following prom and graduation parties. Parents continue to play an important role as teens take on the responsibilities of driving to these events.

According to a recent AAA study, 87 percent of parents with a teen between the ages of 15 and 18 said they would be less angry if their teen called them for a ride home, instead of getting behind the wheel if they are intoxicated.

“Discuss the importance of driving safely with your teen before these events,” said AAA Carolinas President and CEO Dave Parsons. “Talking openly to your teen about the dangers of drunk driving, distracted driving and other driving risks greatly increases their chance of getting home safely.”

Teen Driving Safety Tips:

Distracted driving — Many teens admit to cell phone use and texting while behind the wheel despite being aware of he dangers. Make a family rule covering these and other distractions that everyone abides by.

Alcohol and drug use — Eight young people die every day in the U.S. in alcohol-related crashes. Talk with your teen about the dangers of driving drunk or riding with someone who has used alcohol or drugs and enforce strict zero tolerance rules with your teen.

Seat belt use — Seat belt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries in a crash. Require everyone to buckle up.

Driving with passengers — Teen drivers’ crash risks multiply when there are teen passengers. Set limits and enforce them.

Peer pressure — Talk with your teen about the importance of resisting peer pressure and offer advice on how to handle hypothetical driving situations. This is also important if your teen is going to be a passenger in a car driven by a teen. Encourage teen passengers to speak up if they feel they are in danger.

Speeding — speed is a leading fact in crashes for teens and adults. Set a good example and set strong rules.

Driving conditions — Spring time rain, darkness, heavy traffic and other realities of driving pose challenges for teen drivers. Make sure your teen has practice driving under each of these conditions.

Tips for Parents:

Don’t assume all parents share your values — Exchange phone numbers and talk with other parents and your teen’s friends to ensure ample communication.

Take inventory of alcohol and prescription drugs — If you are hosting a prom party, make sure you secure your alcohol and prescription drugs to ensure teens do not get their hands on them.

Check limo policies — If renting a limo, check their policy on allowing alcohol in the vehicle and talk with the limo driver about your expectations for the evening.

Set a reasonable curfew — Let your teen know you will wait up for them to return home.

To learn more about preparing your teen to be a safe driver, visit www.teendriving.aaa.com. Involved in teen driver safety for over 75 years, AAA has a full range of tools to help parents and teens throughout the whole learning to drive process.

AAA Carolinas, an affiliate of the American Automobile Association, is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 2 million members and the public with travel, automobile and insurance services while being an advocate for the safety and security of all travelers.

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