You're driving along, enjoying all the beautiful holiday decorations, when suddenly a van pulls out in front of you. You swerve hard and narrowly miss hitting it - you look back and see a distracted Christmas shopper, clearly frazzled, trying to get all her holiday errands done in time.
You continue on your way and stop at a stoplight. As you're sitting there, you notice a car in your rearview mirror. He's not slowing. You honk and see his head snap up just in time to come to a screeching halt just inches from your bumper - it's a college student texting mom that he is on his way home.
The light turns green. You're just about to go, when a car whizzes by - the driver is clearly inebriated (coming from a holiday party) and didn't even notice that the light was red.
The roads can be dangerous during the holidays and imagine if you're a less-experienced teenage driver. Do you think you could have avoided all of these potential hazards? Maybe not.
Holiday Accident Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during the weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day, it's estimated that more than 700 people will be injured or killed nationwide in drunk driving accidents alone - that's two to three times higher than the rate for rest of the year, to say nothing of the other types of accidents, like distracted or drowsy driving.
According to a report in WBTW.com, 15 people died last year in North Carolina car accidents over the Thanksgiving holiday alone.
Our car accident lawyers in North Carolina know that this time of year is particularly dangerous for young people, who lack overall driving experience and may make reckless decisions.
Car wrecks are the number one killer of teens across the country, claiming over 3,000 lives each year. The combination of increased traffic, along with distracted and drunk drivers, can be a deadly mix - especially when the driver is inexperienced behind the wheel.
6 Safety Tips for Parents of Teen Drivers in North Carolina
The Traffic Safety Store recently highlighted a number of steps parents can take to reinforce and promote safe driving habits for their teenagers:
- Communicate openly with teenage drivers about expectations and obligations. One good way to start this conversation is to suggest a parent-teen driving agreement that clearly states your expectations for your teenager's driving habits and even his/her responsibilities as they relate to the vehicle.
- Set a good example for your teen driver. Do you drive the speed limit, wear your seatbelt, and avoid dangerous behaviors (such as texting and driving)? Teens who see their parents engage in dangerous or reckless behavior behind-the-wheel may be more likely to engage in such behaviors themselves.
- Know what risks teens face. Joyriding, texting and driving, not wearing seatbelts, and drinking and driving can all be dangerous behaviors your teen could engage in. Parents should be aware of these (and other) dangers and make rules in order to prevent them. During the holidays, alcohol may be more accessible, so keep an eye on your teen.
- Drive with your kids for longer than required. Although North Carolina, like many other states, has a graduated licensing program, it can never hurt to spend more time with your teen while he or she is learning to drive. Studies show it can take as many as 1,500 miles of driving in all conditions before a teen has enough experience to be considered a competent - and safe - driver.
- Monitor your teen. You can install in-car surveillance cameras or use apps that track speed, swerves, and other dangerous behaviors. Earlier this year, USA Today published this list of devices to monitor teenage drivers.
- Enroll in an education course with your kids. Driver education programs exist that can be really helpful in reminding both teen drivers - and their parents - how to stay safe on North Carolina roadways.
If you've been injured in an accident, contact a car accident lawyer in North Carolina today. At the Law Offices of James Scott Farrin, we'll be happy to evaluate your case for free.
Just call us at 1-866-900-7078 today.