PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — We are now in what’s called the 100 deadliest days of summer — and the threat is on our streets and highways.
Over the past five years, nearly 3,500 people have been killed in crashes involving teen drivers between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Research from the AAA Foundation found that reckless behavior like drinking and driving, speeding and distraction are contributing to the number of crashes.
Georjeane Blumling with AAA Tidewater said, “It takes about five years of driving to really get the hang of it — so that you’ve got all of the things to do, even in an emergency. And unfortunately we learn that through near misses many times.”
Short of taking their keys — what can you do?
10 On Your Side’s Stephanie Harris shares the three things driving experts say parents should do right now to help protect their teens and everyone out on the road with them.
First, talk early and often about dangerous behaviors behind the wheel.
“They don’t know what to look for yet, they don’t understand to be always looking for a stop sign, or to be scanning your vision,” Blumling said.
Research shows it takes five years for teens to really get the hang of it.
Second, be a good example.
Parents who wear seatbelts are much more likely to have kids who do.
Similarly, if you text behind the wheel your kids are more likely to do it as well.
“So its not a matter of ‘do as I say, not as I do,’ you’ve got to be a good example and that can’t start when they’re 15,” Blumling told 10 On Your Side.
Third, AAA recommends entering into a driving contract with your teen.
Blumling explained, “The point to a driving contract that parents and teen have responsibility in this, it’s not just you do what I tell you to do.”
Set out your expectations, from who pays for gas, to how many passengers are allowed in the car and let them know when they need help they can call you.