Summer is the deadliest time of year for teen drivers

For most people, summer in South Carolina is a time to relax and enjoy spending time with friends and family. Whether it's a backyard barbeque, a trip to the beach or something else, there are innumerable ways to have fun and enjoy the nice weather.

However, for all of these good times, summer is also the most dangerous time of the year when it comes to motor vehicle safety. This is especially true for teen drivers. In fact, the summer months see so many serious car accidents involving young drivers that the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day has been deemed the "100 deadliest days of summer."

The reasons behind the trend are varied. Because teens are less experienced drivers, they tend to be at a higher risk of getting in a car accident than the population as a whole. Since they are not in school during the summer, they have more free time and thus spend more time on the road.

In addition, much of this time is spend with friends, which further compounds the possibility of becoming distracted and getting involved in an accident. Further, the teenage years are a time of experimentation, and many teens will be confronted with the opportunity to use alcohol or marijuana at a party. Some will use these substances and drive home, either because they do not accurately perceive the risk or because they are afraid of getting into trouble with their parents.

Finally, teens tend to be bigger risk takers in general. As a result, they may not fully internalize the dangers that come from speeding, reckless driving or not wearing a seatbelt.

Helping teen drivers stay safe

No parent ever wants to get a call telling them that their teen has been involved in a serious car accident. The best way to prevent this from happening is to set clear rules and have frank and honest discussions with your teenager about the risks and consequences of violating them.

Make sure your teen knows that wearing a seatbelt, driving the speed limit and following all other traffic laws are non-negotiable conditions of being given the privilege to drive. Any violation of these rules should result in that privilege being taken away.

Further, help your teen to understand the consequences of intoxicated driving. Make sure they know that it is never acceptable to get behind the wheel when they are under the influence or to ride in a vehicle with an intoxicated driver. Let them know that they can always call home for a ride without having to worry about getting in trouble.

By following these tips, you can help your teen — and everyone else on the road in South Carolina — enjoy a safe and healthy summer.