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Valentine’s Day celebrates the love between two people, often with roses, chocolate and love notes. This special day also usually involves couples driving to romantic dinner dates. Whether we’re headed to a romantic dinner with someone special or just traveling this Valentine’s Day, we can’t forget to keep each other safe while on the road!
Your teen driver may have a dinner date planned this Valentine’s Day, but the research is clear that your teen should not have any passengers in the car with them for at least six months after getting a license, especially a teen passenger.
In fact, research shows that a single teen passenger can increase a teen driver’s crash risk by 44%. That means that you or another responsible adult may have to be the taxi, or in this case the limo driver, for your teen and his or her date.
However, if your teen has been driving long enough to gain the experience necessary to drive safely with a passenger in the car, reinforce a few key driver safety points for this Valentine’s Day:
Put the phone away while driving: If your teen driver needs to use the GPS to get to dinner, remind him or her to have their date be the guide and handle the directions so they arrive safely. You can also suggest that your teen’s date be in control of the radio. Not only is this safer, it will give your teen insight into the type of music their date enjoys and may be something they have in common.
Drive the speed limit: Many couples make reservations for dinner, only to find themselves rushing to make it on time. Remind your teen to plan accordingly so they are not in a rush to arrive on time. No meal is worth the risk of getting in a crash.
Do not drive impaired: Special nights are often correlated with drinking, but remind your teen that there is zero tolerance for underage drinking and driving. In fact, no type of impairment is acceptable, including alcohol, drugs – even prescription – and fatigue.
Be sure your teen knows that taking time for safety is its own way of expressing love, and that it should go beyond this holiday. Whether or not it’s with a special someone, your teen should practice safe driving habits all year long.
DriveitHOME™ is an initiative of the National Safety Council, designed by and for parents of newly licensed teen drivers. DriveitHOME™ offers free resources parents can use to help their teen build experience to become safer drivers.