It's that time of year again, when high school students on the brink of young adulthood stretch their wings a bit and attend their school prom.
But parents have a right to be worried, because proms and graduation parties increase the risk of accidents, injuries and even fatalities occurring. The following tips can help keep teens safer while celebrating these milestones.
-- Drive with as few teens in the car as possible. Better yet, rent a limo and split the costs.
-- Reinforce with teens the importance of avoiding distractions while driving like texting or taking selfies.
-- Encourage defensive driving, as prom night means there will be many inexperienced drivers on the roads, and some of them may be impaired.
-- Hold the line prohibiting any underage drinking or drug usage.
-- Despite the above, make sure that your teen understands that you would prefer picking them up if they do wind up drinking than them attempting to drive home under the influence.
-- Insist that all passengers and the driver wear seat belts at all times when in a moving vehicle.
-- Know what the plans are for after the prom and arrange for your teen to have predetermined points to check in by phone so you can monitor sobriety and keep abreast of their activities.
-- Remind them that their formal wear could mean that their range of motion is diminished or their reaction time slowed, so they should drive accordingly.
-- Encourage sleepy teens to stay at your home to catch a few hours of sleep before attempting to drive home after dropping your child off, as fatigue can be as dangerous as intoxication behind the wheel.
-- Send your teen off with a fully charged cellphone, its charger and enough money to take an emergency taxi should it become necessary.
-- Tailor curfews to your teen's level of maturity and double-check to make sure that after-prom activities will be supervised. Better yet, host your own sunrise breakfast for a group of your child's friends.
Even the best-laid plans can go awry and accidents occur. If your teen gets injured in an accident on prom night, seeking justice through a civil lawsuit is one way to pursue financial compensation.
Source: Safety Insurance, "Prom Safe Driving Tips," accessed May 13, 2016