Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Smart Safety: Prom Tips

A recent study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) also found that 88 percent of teens say that driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous, while only 68 percent of teens believe driving under the influence of marijuana is dangerous.

If your kids are driving for prom - or any social get-together - here are some helpful tips to keep them safe from Dr. Gene Beresin, Senior Advisor on adolescent psychiatry with SADD and Executive Director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Mass General Hospital.
  • Have a conversation (or more than one): Remember, prom is a very special night for teens. Since the teen brain is driven more by impulse than reason, it’s important to have a candid discussion about the dangers of prom, such as driving under the influence or distracted driving. Have the discussion in advance of prom night and reinforce the message to help keep it top-of-mind for your teen. 
  • Create a secret code: In case teens find themselves in a vulnerable situation pre or post-prom, parents and teens can create a secret code together, such as a text code, to alert their parents that they need to be picked up with a “no questions asked” policy.
  • Passengers on prom night: Driving with two or more passengers greatly increases your risk of getting into an accident due to distracted driving. Speak with teens about how many friends they can drive with on prom night and remind them to always stay focused on the road.
  • Set clear rules: Whether your teen is driving to prom or just a passenger, parents should make it clear that there’s NO driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Liberty Mutual’s Teen Driving Contract acts as a conversation-starter and customized agreement for parents and teens to get on the same page this prom season.
  • Don’t Lecture: Many teens might think that their parents come off as patronizing or overprotective, even if it isn’t intentional. –Listen to what your teen is concerned about and how they would plan to handle such a situation. Be respectful to what they are saying, maybe mention a past experience of your own, and then make a plan together. 
  • Discuss the Risks: While many teens have had conversations about drinking and driving with their parents, only 53 percent of teens recall discussing the dangers of driving high. It’s important for teens to understand the importance of not driving high, in addition to other risks, such as not using your cell phone behind the wheel.

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