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As the last hurrah of summer, Labor Day weekend is when everyone tries to get in one final road trip or celebration. Unfortunately, that means more people on the road, more impaired drivers to contend with, and more deaths and injuries.
National Safety Council estimates claim that nearly 400 people may be killed on U.S. roads this Labor Day weekend. According to Injury Facts, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities are more common on this holiday weekend than the annual average, making it crucial for you to talk to your teen about this risk.
Watch out for impaired road users
Your teen should already know there is zero tolerance for driving while impaired, but at this time of year you should also focus on identifying other drivers who could pose a risk. Experienced drivers may be able to easily spot a vehicle drifting in and out of the lane or repeating sudden stops, but could your teen?
This is a crucial skill to learn, because it only takes a second for a ‘bad’ driver to become a serious risk to everyone else on the road. New drivers may not understand just how dangerous driving can be, but when a danger like this comes up, you want your teen to be ready.
Get out of the danger zone
The best thing to do when you are near a dangerous, potentially alcohol-impaired driver is to remove yourself from the area. This could mean changing lanes, slowing down and even exiting to another road, depending on the situation. The important thing is to protect yourself first. That means exiting the danger zone safely, not slamming on the brakes or speeding erratically to get away from this other driver.
Once safely off of the road and parked, your teen can notify the local authorities. It helps to know where you are and where the other driver was headed so a potential crash can be prevented. Just remind your teen that personal safety is paramount: do not call the authorities while you are still driving.
Take road risks seriously
We call it sharing the road because we all have a responsibility to work together and keep our road trips safe. Driving while impaired puts everyone at risk, so your teen should feel empowered to do their part when they see a danger like this.
Don’t assume that someone else will notify the police or that the driver will make it home without causing a crash. Protect yourself, call for help and you’ll help make the roads safer for us all.
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.
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