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Summertime is every teenager’s most-awaited season of the year. No school usually means getting to stay out a little later than usual to have fun with friends.
The thing is; summer is also the most dangerous time of the year for teens, especially teenage drivers. According to the NHTSA, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the deadliest for drivers aged 15 – 20 years old.
Many teenagers get their first taste of alcohol during summer which can lead to riskier driving behavior and, on a number of occasions, their first DUI offense.
Educating Teenagers About Underage Drinking and Drunk Drinking
Getting a call that your child has been involved in an accident is every parent’s worst fear. And knowing that it has something to do with teenage drunk driving makes it all the more heartbreaking.
No parent wants their teenager to drive drunk, but you must accept the fact that, on most occasions, teens actively seek alcohol rather than stumble across it. That being said, one of the best things that you can do to prevent your teens from putting themselves at risk is to open a respectful dialogue with your child about the dangers of underage drinking and driving under the influence.
Teenagers are already aware that they’re not legally allowed to consume alcohol until they’re 21. So, to drive the message home, remind them about the possible legal penalties for violating the law and make them understand that by making the choice to drive drunk, they aren’t just putting themselves in danger; they could seriously injure innocent people as well.
5 Tips to Keep Teenage Drivers Sober
Educating your child about the dangers of driving under the influence could work to a certain extent. But if parents could stop underage drinking simply by talking to them, why is teenage drunk driving still prevalent all over the country?
Talking is definitely a good place to start, but you’ve got to be more proactive if you want to ensure your child’s safety.
Here are 5 strategies you can try to keep your teens safe and sober on the road this summer.
1. Keep Tabs on Your Teenagers
There’s nothing wrong with giving your teen more freedom in the summer, but make sure you’re always kept in the loop.
If they go out for the day, ask them to provide you with a loose itinerary of what they’re doing, where they’re going, and who they’re spending time with. If there are changes in the plans, tell them to let you know. Also, feel free to randomly check in on them through call or text. When teens are left largely unsupervised, they are more likely to get into trouble.
2. Set Clear Boundaries and Consequences
It’s important for parents to set clear boundaries, so your children are aware of what you expect from them.
Aside from reminding them that they should never drink and drive under any circumstances, you should also establish clear guidelines. Let them know until what time they are allowed to stay out, what places are off limits, how often they should check-in when they’re out, etc.
Most importantly, enforce the consequences you set for breaking the rules. If you show too much leniency, your teen may assume that there won’t be any real consequences should they experiment with alcohol.
3. Introduce Some Structure into Their Daily Routine
One of the best ways to make sure your teen stays sober over the summer is to keep them occupied. Summer may be a time for fun and relaxation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t add some structure to their day.
Is your teen into sport, dance, or theater? See if you can find a summer camp that caters to his or her specific interests. If not, encourage them to volunteer or get a part-time job. A busy teen is less likely to have time for drinking, partying, or getting into trouble.
4. Teach Your Kids How to Handle Peer Pressure
Peer pressure has been one of the leading causes of underage drinking. Many teenagers try alcohol for the first time because their friends are doing it and don’t want to feel left out.
Alcohol-related peer pressure is great among high-schoolers, so it’s important that your kids know how to deal with it when it happens to them. They need to learn how to refuse a drink or a ride home from their drunk friends.
5. Practice What You Preach
By now, you already know that your words won’t have much of an impact on your children if your actions don’t match. You can tell your teenager not to drink when they see you downing a few bottles of beer almost every night or driving home after a night of drinking with friends.
When imposing rules on children, always set an example for them to follow. You may think they’re not, but your kids are always watching you.