Summer has officially come to an end, as Daylight Savings Time occurs this Sunday, November 5. Not only is this a reminder to set your clocks back an hour (and get an extra hour of sleep!), but to understand that your teen driver will be spending more time driving in the dark.
This is important to keep in mind, especially if your teen has a job or is involved in sports or other after-school activities. The statistics tell us that the hours between 9PM and midnight are the most dangerous ones for teens on the road and that the risk of a fatal crash is three times higher at night than during the day.
The challenges of driving in the dark, with less light to see by and glare from oncoming headlights, combined with a teen’s lack of experience driving in these conditions, mean that both you and your teen need to be extra careful when behind the wheel.
The time change can also result in more drowsy drivers on our roads, which is especially dangerous for teens and may increase crashes. It’s no coincidence Drowsy Driving Prevention Week occurs just after the time change (Nov. 5-12).
To prepare for the week ahead:
- Prep your teen’s car for nighttime driving by making sure that all headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signals are working properly, so he or she can be seen by other drivers on the road.
- Remind your teen to be on the alert for animals, especially deer, crossing the roads. Many animals are most active at night and will be out earlier now than in the summer months.
- Make sure your teen is well rested and has proper time to adjust to the time change before getting behind the wheel.
As the roads get darker earlier and weather conditions worsen, your teen’s chances of a crash go up. Be sure your new teen driver has plenty of experience behind the wheel during night time hours by driving with them at night. This is an important skill for teen drivers to learn, but they need to stay safe while doing it.