All too often the excitement on prom night is overshadowed by a tragic event. This year, make prom safety just as important as the dress your daughter will wear or the style of your son's tuxedo. Your advice will play an important role when discussing teenage driving tips that might prevent them from becoming a tragic statistic.
Prom Tips for Teen Drivers
If your child plans to drive their own car, the family car or will be riding in another vehicle, discuss the following issues. Explain that you want them to have a memorable evening, but more important is that they come home in one piece.
- Limit the number of kids in the car, and confirm that they will be the only driver of your car.
- Insist that everyone wears a seat belt even if it means a few clothing wrinkles.
- Instill the importance of concentration behind the wheel. (Teenage passengers can be distracting and cause the driver to be careless. Also, they will see all of their friends when they get to Prom- No need to be texting or on the phone while driving!)
- Explain the importance of driving defensively on a night when the accident rate is high.
- Confirm they know exactly where they are going, even if you have to scout the trip during daylight hours. (This includes any post prom party locations.)
- Discuss the dangers of drinking and driving. No matter how confident a teenager is about his or her abilities, there will be temptations on prom night. (Remind your teen that the number one killer of teenagers is car accidents.) Driving tips for teenagers also means that they know the underage drinking and driving laws in your state and the ramifications should they be arrested.
- Point out that they will be dressed in unfamiliar clothing and not wearing comfortable shoes. That might inhibit reaction time while driving. (More than one new shoe has slipped off a brake pedal.)
- If you have given your teenager an extended curfew, discuss how fatigue can also cause accidents.
- No list with tips for teen drivers would be complete without an understanding that you'd rather have a phone call at 2 a.m. than your teen making the decision to drive impaired.
Prom Safety Tips for Parents
Once you get your driving tips for teenagers out of the way, there are other tips for you to consider as well.
- Be sure your teenager has a fully charged cellphone in the car.
- Before they leave for the night, make sure you have their complete itinerary, including where, when and who they will be with and their contact information. (Any answer that implies that she will “just be driving around” is not an acceptable prom safety answer.)
- Decide on a curfew that is equal to your teenager's level of responsibility.
- Express your trust in them while discussing the dangers they might encounter.
- Confirm the location of any after-prom parties, who will be there and if they will be supervised by an adult. Unsupervised parties are an invitation for underage drinking and drug use.
Another way to relieve worry about prom safety is by renting a limousine and driver for the evening or serving as a driver yourself. It might be worth the cost or the effort on your part to be sure that your kids have fun but always have a responsible driver behind the wheel.
We also urge you to download The Parents Supervised Driving Program, a guide for parents designed to help your teen be a safe and responsible driver.