CARZ FOR GIRLZ: How To Celebrate Teen Driver Safety Week



By Ilsye Gordon & Friends

Guess what holiday it is this week? It's not Halloween. My birthday, you ask? Very sweet, but no. And Christmas falls on December 25th this year (it always does – I'm just trying to be funny). Although Daylight Savings gives us back an hour of sleeping time, it isn't enough to get that excited …

The third week in October is...ta da National Teen Driver Safety Week!

What does this mean and how do we celebrate it?

First, A Bit of a Background Check: Congress passed a resolution establishing every third week in October as National Teen Driver Safety Week (NTDSW). Last year was the first annual event, with states featuring different activities such as passing out information in high schools or having seat belt competitions and fundraisers. NTDSW is designed to raise awareness about the tragedy of teen vehicle crashes, which is the leading cause of death for young people in the United States. The crash rate for 16-year-old drivers is almost 10 times the rate for drivers aged 30-59, states the Governors Highway Safety Association. We're talking about 7,000 deaths a year.

Getting the Most Out of Teen Driver Safety Week: Although our driving shows teens have some issues behind the wheel, being in the spotlight is a good thing. Here’s how to take advantage of a weeklong holiday that is geared toward us:

  • Start learning how to drive now. This is a perfect time to bug your parents about driving lessons. Give them the facts about crash rates and tell them you'd like to learn how to be a "defensive driver" today.
  • Get in as much driving time as you can. Tell mom or dad you'd like to celebrate National Teen Driver Safety Week by going on a couple of supervised driving expeditions to, say, the movies or the mall.
  • Start working the car ownership angle. Driving should be the family topic around the dinner table this week, which naturally leads to questions about how, or if, your parents plan on helping you fund some wheels. Put the feelers out now!
  • Stay away from what causes teen crashes. The leading causes of teen crashes are distractions (in the form of too many passengers or cell phones), nighttime conditions, and driving under the influence. Do whatever you can to reduce the risks.
  • Check out Ford's "Driving Skills for Life" challenge. You can take their interactive driving course and learn how to recognize hazardous situations, avoid being rear ended, and steer through black ice.
  • Use this week for extra credit in a class you might be failing. If you've got to pull up a grade somehow, why not approach your teacher about NTDSW in hopes to make a deal? You provide a 15-minute presentation on an issue that your instructor can't say no to, and in return you get a little numbers boost. It's so worth a shot – if you're in this position, you have to do something, so here's your chance!
  • Research for the safest cars. Look here on The Auto Channel for vehicles – SUVs, trucks, compacts, CUVs and sedans – and study their safety ratings on braking, side impact crashes, and airbag deployment.
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