Vehicular accidents are major causes of teen deaths in the US.
Every day, 6 teens age 16-19 years die from motor vehicle injuries according to the CDC. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is one of the major causes of car crashes with 15% of drivers 15-20 years involved in fatal accidents in 2016 having blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or more. Now that summer is just around the corner, the incidence of accidents is likely to increase. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirms that more accidents occur in summer over winter. For young people on their summer break, it is vital to think carefully before drinking and getting behind the wheel.
Risk factors that may affect driving
There are many factors that affect teen driving accidents including inexperience, excessive speeds, alcohol, drugs, and distracted driving. The onset of modern technology is both a curse and a blessing to people completely absorbed by their gadgets, phones, portable devices while at a standstill or in motion. Driving while texting, talking to passengers, watching a video, fiddling with the infotainment system are just a few examples of distractions while behind the wheel.
Once alcohol enters the bloodstream, it affects the way the brain works interfering with communication pathways. Levels do not have to be elevated considerably to impair a driver. It makes it harder to think properly and physical movement & coordination are affected. Driving requires full concentration and alertness that are diminished considerably with alcohol consumption. In the long term, alcohol abuse can cause problems of the heart, liver, pancreas and the immune system. It can also lead to cancer.
Safety tips for driving in summer
Reducing the risks for driving among the youth involves conscionable actions to prevent them from happening. Summer is a time when the roads are packed with people going places whether it is to travel out of town or simply go to the park. Thus, it is important to share the road with everyone. The basic rule of fastening seat belts can avert fatal collisions. Avoiding alcohol if driving already reduces the risks of impaired driving.
Allergies are also distractions so it is recommended to manage them as runny eyes and frequent sneezing can become dangerous while driving. Keep eyes on the road and make sure that the vehicle is in good shape (properly inflated tires, oil levels maintained and the like). It is also important not to exceed the payload capacity of cars to prevent accidents and to reduce speeds when the roads are slippery due to heavy rains. The first 30 minutes of a downpour is the most dangerous in summer when oil and water mix making roads slick.
Summer is a great time for young people to enjoy themselves. It can be made safer for everyone by following these practical tips. Most of all, avoiding alcohol and distractions while driving makes roads secure for drivers, passengers, and fellow motorists.
June 15, 2018
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