Prom Season and Teen Driving
Prom is not only a huge rite of passage, for both teens and parents, but it also one of the most dangerous times of the year for teen drivers. While parents are usually pacing the floors, their kids are dancing the night away and attending after parties. While a lot has changed, the number one priority for teens is to have a safe, fun and memorable time.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 1/3 of all alcohol related teen driving fatalities occur between April and June, which is prime Prom Season. Automobile accidents are the number one cause of death for young people (ages 12 to 19). Prom night is even more dangerous because of the large amount of teen drivers out late at night.
Talking About Prom Season With Your Teenager
With Prom Season just around the corner, it is a great time to start talking to your teenager about the dangerous situations that can happen and how to deal with them.
Topics You Should Consider Discussing:
- Open Conversation – Have a candid conversation about the dangers of prom, such as drinking and driving, distracted driving, and peer pressure.
- Create a Secret Code – Having a secret code that will alert you that your teen needs to be picked up or needs your help. It can be a simple code that can be a text message. Keep this a “no questions asked” policy, so that your teenager isn’t afraid to use it.
- Set Clear Rules – If your teen is driving to prom or a passenger, you should make it clear that there is NO driving (or riding in a car with someone who is) under the influence of alcohol or drugs. You can download our teen driver contract to start the conversation and to have a written agreement.
- Passengers on Prom Night – Driving with two or more passengers greatly increases your risk of getting into an accident due to distracted driving. Find out more on distracted driving.
- Always Wear a Seat Belt – no matter how short the trip.
- Social Media -Pictures and Videos from prom night will inevitably end up on social media. Warn your teen to be careful not to be captured on film drinking alcohol or doing anything else they might regret. Talk to your teen about refraining from uploading questionable/embarrassing photos or videos. Depending on what is uploaded, your teen might be in as much trouble as the person in the video.
- Be Aware – Encourage your teen to only drink from bottles or cans they opened themselves or saw being opened. Remind them never to leave a drink unattended, but if they forget, throw it away. Also, point out the dangers of drinking beverages from a dispenser or punch bowl as they could be spiked with alcohol or drugs.
- Good Decision Making – Make sure your teen is aware that their poor decisions on prom night could mean not graduating from high school on time. Also, colleges can revoke scholarships or an acceptance letter for illegal behavior or for getting expelled from high school.
Make Prom Season Fun, Memorable and Safe
These tips will help make prom a great memory!
- Be ready to roll with the punches. A lot of things can go wrong with prom groups. Be flexible when it comes to driving your child and their friends to the dance.
- Dinner doesn’t have to be expensive. “We didn’t want to go to a nice restaurant, so we ended up getting McDonald’s. It was fun and cheap.”
- Bring Band-Aids. High heels can give really deep blisters. It could’ve been avoided by wearing a Band-Aid to protect ankles.
- Go with someone you’re close with. It doesn’t matter if it’s a date or a friend, but when you’re close with the people in your group, you can relax more.
- Take advantage of the activities at the dance.
- Mingle with Others. Don’t restrict yourself to only hanging out with your group. Talk to people from different groups, which can make the night more fun.
- Take lots of pictures. This should be a night you want to remember.
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