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GuardrailIf you had to choose for your teen to drive through an icy winter storm or an 80-degree “not-a-cloud-in-the-sky” day, which would you prefer? If you’re like most, you’ll probably put your trust in the warm summer day as opposed to the blistery winter one.

Now, ask yourself the same question after reading the following statistic:

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the summer months of June, July, and August consistently have higher teenage crash deaths than any other month.

It would take a rare parent to send their teenager off for a drive during a winter storm without a few words of warning (if you were to even let them behind the wheel at all!) But do you allow yourself the same pause for reflection before your son hops in the car after summer practice to go to the beach with friends? Or when your daughter pulls out of the driveway on a warm July night to catch a movie?

Here’s to making summer 2015 the safest one yet. Some tips to help ensure your teen always comes back to you in one piece:

1. Buckle Up. Did you know? Compared to other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use and the majority of teens involved in fatal crashes are unbelted. Set an example by always buckling up yourself — whether they’re in the car or not!

2. Limit passengers. I know, I know. Carpooling is all the rage and I’m all for protecting the environment, but make sure your teen knows there is a LIMIT to how many friends he or she may have in the car at any one time. Distracted driving is a real and all too serious thing, and the more friends in the car the more likely a distraction.

3. Speaking of distracted driving . . .think of investing in a nifty little product I happened upon recently called the Drop Stop. Drop Stop has made it their mission not only to catch all your small belongings that INEVITABLY fall in the gap between your seats, but to eliminate distracted driving in doing so. Your teen drops their phone, their jewelry, their credit card etc., while they’re driving. It falls between the gap. They look down, and down, and down, and… crash. With Drop Stop, they won’t have to look down, ever. If anything ever falls, they’ll know right where to find it, and it’ll be there safe and sound once they park.

4. Help your teen maintain their vehicle! Do they tires have enough tread? When was the last time they had an oil change? Does every light work and at what percentage are the breaks? Keep your teen safe by seeing to it these maintenance issues are up-to-date all while teaching your teen very adult responsibilities.

Summer inevitably means more teen drivers on the roads, many who have had minimal experience behind the road. Their lack of experience can lead to dubious decision making which can lead to every parent’s worst nightmare: A car collision.

What are some of your best tips for teen drivers, and parents of teen drivers? Share with me in the comments below, and remember: Drive safe this summer!

Takeaway tips:

• Discuss safe driving with your teen before they get a license.

• Be a role model. Don’t text and drive, even with your years of experience.

• Educate your teen. Sign them up for drivers-ed or online classes.

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