As the holiday season quickly approaches, it is essential to make sure that your teen is aware of the risks associated with impaired driving, driving during the dark hours, driving with other passengers, and taking road trips. This year will most likely be an exception in most areas because of the pandemic as to the activities teens will engage in but will make it even more important to communicate well with your teen. Many of these activities will become even more dangerous than other years and extra caution all around will be needed.
Impaired Driving During the Holiday Season
Unfortunately, the holiday season tends to bring a rise in impaired driving. It is important that your teen first knows how to identify an impaired driver, and second knows what to do once an impaired driver has been identified. While you are in the passenger seat with your teen, point out behaviors that may look suspicious and lead you to believe the other vehicle’s driver may be under the influence. Some behaviors, as identified by MADD Canada, include:
(Madd Canada, 2020)
If your teen identifies an impaired driver, have them follow these steps:
- If they are the only person in the vehicle, pull over safely on the side of the road
- Call 911
- Give information such as location, the license plate number, vehicle make/model, vehicle color, direction of travel, and the description of the driver
If your teen is still traveling in the same direction as the possible impaired driver, ensure that your teen is extra attentive and increases the following distance significantly.
Another critical lesson with impaired driving is to ensure that your teen is not the impaired driver! Have a conversation with your teen about the dangers of driving under the influence. Perhaps establish a rule with your teen, such as if they consume alcohol or drugs for any reason, that you are just a phone call away, and that your teen has no reason to get behind the wheel.
Driving During Dark Hours
In North America, the holiday season usually brings shorter day time hours and longer night hours. If your teen does not have a lot of experience driving during the darker hours, they must get ample practice with you coaching from the passenger seat. Driving during night hours can be difficult as it is more difficult to see. Start by driving in quieter areas until your teen gains some skill and confidence. Your teen must remember to
As your teen begins to build confidence driving during dark hours, slowly start to practice with them in more advanced situations such as driving in busy traffic during night hours. Remember, each teen learns at a different pace, be patient, and stay calm.
Are you worried about your teen driving in winter conditions? Visit our last blog post to learn how you can better prepare them!
Driving with Passengers
Many teens get time off during the holiday season from school, which frees up more time for them to be spending with their friends, which usually results in multiple teens in one vehicle. You might not think too much of this, but the greater the number of teen passengers in the vehicle with your teen, the greater the chance of your teen getting into a collision. Some states limit the number of passengers your teen can have in the vehicle with them on a GDL license. If your state or province does not have a limit, think about instilling your own limit on the number of friends your teen has in their vehicle. This year more than any other in history, the importance of our teens not driving with other teens will be crucial not just because of the reasons above but also in respect of social health concerns.
Road Trips During the Holiday Season
Perhaps during the holiday season, your teen has planned to take a road trip to visit family or friends. Although your teen may be a safe and confident driver, they must know how to prepare before hitting the road to the next destination. Go through the following checklist with your teen before they start their road trip:
Ensure vehicle maintenance is up to date
Top up fluids if necessary
Equip the vehicle with an emergency roadside kit
Check the vehicle’s body and tires to ensure everything is secured
Load luggage so that it does not block the view out of any windows
The holiday season should be filled with joy and happiness. Having a teen that practices safe driving will ensure that you are filled with less worry. Let’s work together to ensure that your teen knows the risks and how to avoid them. If you want to ensure that your teen gets enough practice, consider the Coaching New Drivers program. Visit our homepage to learn more.
Save 70% by using the coupon code HOLIDAYS70 until December 23, 2020. Give your teen the gift of safety.
MADD Canada. (2020). Campaign 911. Retrieved from https://madd.ca/pages/programs/awareness-campaigns/campaign-911/