Tips to help keep your teen safe behind the wheel this summer

Posted: July 10, 2024 | Word Count: 618

Summer season is in full swing, and that means more beach days, barbecues and road trips. But for teens, it also means a greater likelihood of being involved in a serious car accident.

The period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is dubbed the “100 deadliest days of summer” due to a more than 20% surge in teen automobile fatalities, according to the National Road Safety Foundation. Every year, 2,100 teens on average are involved in fatal crashes, with 30% — or seven deaths per day — occurring in that 100-day period. Making matters worse, more than half of teen drivers involved in crashes were not wearing seatbelts.

“It’s imperative that teens understand and practice safe driving behaviors to protect themselves and others while on the road, first and foremost, but it also helps to keep the cost of insurance down for an age group that is notoriously expensive to insure,” said Kevin Quinn, Mercury Insurance’s vice president of claims. “Parents play a key role in shaping the driving habits of their teens. It’s best for parents to lead by example while behind the wheel, spend time driving with their teen, and initiate discussions about the ramifications of dangerous driving, including varying degrees of legal charges — or worse, even death.”

As more teens take to the road for the summer, Mercury Insurance has compiled some tips for parents to help keep their teens safe while behind the wheel:

  • Always insist on wearing a seatbelt: In 2019, 43% of high school students nationwide reported not always wearing a seat belt during the past month, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute. Buckling up is the law in nearly all 50 states, but teens are needlessly dying or getting injured. Insist that your teen always wear a seatbelt, every time they drive, and that they ensure all passengers are buckled up too.

  • Set house rules: Parents can help manage their teen’s crash risk by enforcing rules, such as banning nighttime driving and high-speed roads or controlling the keys, meaning they need to ask to use the car first. Having a “pre-drive” check-in with your teen before every trip is ideal — all predicated on the understanding that the parent has the right to revoke their teenager’s permit or license at any time if rules are not followed. You should also ensure your teen is complying with state Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws.

  • Discuss safe driving behaviors with your teen: Examples of safe driving behaviors include wearing seat belts, putting the phone away and always driving sober. This video ( details how you can effectively communicate with your teen about safe driving. You should also convey that you care about their safety and that house rules are not intended to be punishments, but rather safeguards.

  • Get as much practice as possible: “Most teen driver crashes are due to the lack of active visual scanning that should be used to detect and respond to hazards, going too fast for road conditions, and being distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle,” said Quinn. “As a parent, it can be difficult to hand over the keys, but a teen’s safest time behind the wheel is with you or another trusted adult closely supervising.” The more time and thought you devote to practicing safe driving, the more skills and experience your teen will take with them into independent driving.

To learn more about safe driving for teens, visit the following links:

12 Safe Driving Tips for Teens -

Teen and Young Driver Safety -

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