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Keeping Teens Safe at Graduation: Tips for Seniors at Beach Week

May 19, 2012 · No Comments

Well, it’s that time of the year again – graduation season. We at I Drive Smart could not be more proud of all of our past and current students who will be receiving their diplomas this year. Since we have all been through it (some of us longer ago than we would like to admit), we can all agree that high school can be both exhilarating and exasperating, both fun and frustrating, and sometimes, seemingly never-ending. Graduation is a tremendous accomplishment, and one of which these students ought to be very proud. So let us here at I Drive Smart join your family and friends in extending our congratulations.  Whatever your next step is, whether it is off to college or trying to find a job, we wish you the best of luck in your coming endeavors.

 

Unfortunately, graduation season is not only about cap tosses, valedictorian speeches, and presents from family members you haven’t seen in years. It is also time for graduation parties, senior trips, and “Beach Week”. Given the obvious excitement of teenagers and the newfound freedom they experience upon graduation, I Drive Smart has identified this time period as among the riskiest for teen drivers. For an eye-opening perspective on the dangers of Beach Week, check out this article from the Washington Post. Given the risks, if you are a parent with a child planning to attend Beach Week, it is imperative that you sit down and have an honest talk about it. Follow these tips to ensure that the trip can be both safe AND fun for your teen.

Let Your Child Known You Trust Them – Refrain from lecturing your teen.  Instead, try to begin by asking what risks they expect to encounter on the trip and finding out how they plan to manage those situations. Let your child know that you consider him or her an adult, and that this is a perfect opportunity for them to show you that they deserve that trust.

 

Demand to Know the Details – Often, graduating seniors rent large houses with even larger groups of kids. Make it a priority to know with whom your child will be travelling and with whom he/she will be staying. Make sure they will be spending their time with young men and women you trust, and don’t be afraid to voice your concerns about any particular individuals about whom you have concerns.

 

Set Check-In Times – Teens are notorious for not checking in with parents. Let your child know that doing so on this trip is unacceptable. Instead, work with them to come up with a check-in schedule that works best for both of you. That way, you won’t have to stay up all hours of the night wondering why they haven’t called, and they will have an easier time remembering to check in if they do so at a particular time each day. Just as importantly, let them know that it doesn’t have to be a long chat; you just want to know they are safe and accounted for. Even a text message or e-mail at the end of the night can go a long way, regardless of how late it is.

 

Offer to Pick Them Up, No Questions Asked – It happens way too often – something goes wrong, and teens don’t know what to do. The only thing they WON’T do is call their parents to ask for help, fearing that they will get in trouble. Invariably, the situation only gets worse. Let your child know that if they ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable that they can call you, and you will be there to pick them up. The whole goal of the week is to get through it safely, and any way they will let you help them with that is a good thing.

 

Suggest a Parent Driver – This is invariably our least popular suggestion amongst teens. Despite the best efforts of parents, schools, and driver education providers like I Drive Smart, statistics show that teens often exhibit risky driving behaviors. This danger is compounded by the presence of other teenagers in the vehicle. Did you know that it is statistically more dangerous for a teen driver to travel with teen passengers than it is for that driver to consume an alcoholic beverage? Volunteer to drive your son or daughter to the beach along with their friends. Let them know that you have no intention of ruining their trip – instead, you just want to be their personal chauffer for the trip down and back.

 

On a lighter note, we certainly hope that everyone is getting a chance to enjoy the warm and sunny weather we have been having! If you haven’t taken Driver Education yet, there has never been a better time to take advantage of the free time of summer by signing up with I Drive Smart. Our law enforcement officials can’t wait to teach you how to drive! In the meantime, what do you think about our Beach Week tips? Comment below to share your opinion, or any strategies that have worked for you in the past.

Tags: Driving Safety · Driving Tips

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