Keeping your teen safe on prom night
by Noelle Kimble
The Dress, The Date, The Hair, The Music, and what to do after… all things that are on your teen's mind before the infamous prom night.
Driving is usually not an important component in a teen's mind, but for parents it can be a big worry. Many parents often overlook the need to have honest discussions with their teens about safe driving and avoiding alcohol and drugs. Statistics show that prom and graduation season—the months of April, May and June—are the most dangerous time for teens. One-third of the alcohol-related traffic fatalities involving teens each year occur during those months.
Here's an honest and teen-friendly guide to sharing concerns with your teen for one of the most important nights of their adolescent career.
Many parents often overlook the need to have honest discussions with their teens about safe driving and avoiding alcohol and drugs.
- Have a good time. Explain to your teen that you want them to have fun and enjoy themselves. Just don't drink. Years from now, they will laugh when looking back at prom, but not if they don't remember the night.
- Relate it to your prom. Explain to them what you did right or wrong and what the consequences were. Don't be afraid to tell them the truth if you made some bad judgment calls. This can only help them to feel that you are human and that you regret those decisions and don't want them to make the same.
- Remind them of their future. High school is a great time, but they have their whole future ahead of them. Don't ruin that by drinking or doing drugs on Prom night or any night.
- Immature vs. Mature. Your teen may think that drinking or doing drugs and driving is what the grown up thing is to do. Explain to them that is the most immature and irresponsible decision they could make. Being mature is about making the right decision and keeping your future in your sight.
- Drive safe! If they are driving, make sure that they understand the responsibility of driving on Prom night. Share these six tips with your teen:
- Wear seatbelts.
- Don't speed.
- Be a defensive driver. Not everyone on the road is going to be as safe as you, watch out for other unsafe drivers.
- Don't drink or do drugs. This impairs judgment for driving and could potentially end in a fatality. If you do make a mistake, or find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, call your parents immediately. They will respect you for being mature enough to see the danger and making the right call.
- Don't ride with anyone who has been drinking or doing drugs. This takes your life out of your hands.
- Pay attention to the road while driving. Don't get distracted with cell phones, radio, or passengers. Driving is a very important responsibility and shouldn't be taken lightly.
Teenage drivers have the highest crash risk of any age group and it's largely due to driver error. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics', one in four crash fatalities involve someone 16 to 24 years old, nearly twice as high as other age groups. Don't let your teenager be a statistic. Talk with your teen and communicate the importance of safe driving on Prom night and every night.
Your safety is number one to us. Stay safe wherever you choose to go on the road.