Car accidents a danger during Florida prom season

As South Florida enters the height of prom season, Car Accident Attorney Gregg Hollander and the staff at the Hollander Law Firm encourage parents to have a serious discussion with their teens about safe driving.

Drug Free Youth in Town, a non-profit substance abuse prevention program, is pushing its message on YouTube, giving teens the opportunity to create a 60- to 90-second message about the dangers of underage drinking, according to the Miami Herald.

An estimated 1,900 teens die each year in drunk-driving related traffic deaths; alcohol is involved in nearly half of all teens killed in crashes during prom season.

As we reported earlier this month on our South Florida Injury Lawyer blog, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers 15 to 20 years of age. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 5,864 teenagers died in accidents in 2008. In Florida, 516 teens were killed, accounting for 1 in 10 teen driving deaths nationwide.

Florida’s Drive with Care program, offered by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, offers families safe driving information that can be shared with teenagers.

Tips for Teens:

-Always make sure everyone in your vehicle wears a seat belt; never ride with more passengers than a vehicle has seat belts.

-Don’t speed. Speeding provides less time to react and is one of the primary causes of teenage accidents.

-Obey red lights.

-Make changes to your seat, mirrors and other equipment before starting your car.

-Avoid driver distraction, including cell phones, text messages, conversations with passengers, eating, adjusting the stereo and rubber-necking.

-Keep your eyes scanning the roadway at all times and keep an escape route open in case of trouble ahead. Check mirrors every few seconds and be aware of your surroundings.

-Use turn signals and give vehicles behind you plenty of time to anticipate your actions. Make sure signals have turned off after completing a turn.

-Make sure an intersection is clear before proceeding after a light turns green or upon approaching an intersection with a green light.

-Keeping a clean car and a clean windshield is not only good maintenance and a good habit, it can help avoid a car accident. A clean windshield will reduce sun glare and a clean vehicle interior can help reduce distraction.

-Keep plenty of gas in the tank.

-Don’t follow vehicles too closely.

-Make eye contact with other drivers and pedestrians, to ensure they see you.

-Be mindful of road conditions. Weather can significantly impact how a vehicle handles.

-Keep your car in good repair. Good brakes, good tires, lights and wipers, are all important for safety.

-Don’t drink and drive and do not ride with an impaired driver. Call parents or friends for a ride home.