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100 Deadliest Days of Summer: From Deadliest to Safest

“The 100 Deadliest Days of Summer” is a rather ominous label given to the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day, so pretty much the whole summer. According to the CDC, teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal car crash during this period.


So, what accounts for this unfortunate statistic? Increased free time, inexperience, and reckless driving pave the road for disaster. Understandably, more teenagers are on the roads during the summer going to beaches, malls, friends’ houses, parties, etc.. Compared to adults, teenagers are significantly inexperienced drivers; they may be less aware of surrounding traffic or how to handle a vehicle responsibly. The increased summertime traffic paired with inexperienced drivers helps explain the greater number of crashes.


Conceivably, reckless driving could be the main contributor to fatal car crashes; more teenagers on the road, often means more reckless drivers on the road. Reckless driving goes beyond speeding; driving distracted or under the influence is as reckless as going 50mph in a 25mph zone. I think it’s also fair to say that drinking and substance use coupled with the general summer vibes around partying, make it more likely for teens to engage in reckless driving behaviors too.


Although the statistics may be discouraging, there are plenty of ways to stay safe during these 100 days, and beyond. Firstly, to ensure your safety as a driver, eliminate distractions like loud music, cell phones, and distracting passengers. Obey traffic laws responsibly, especially speed limits. And certainly, never get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs and alcohol. As a passenger, do not distract a driver or get in a car with someone who’s under the influence, you have the power to decide who you ride with. If you find yourself in a risky situation, calling a responsible driver or a ride share is the safest bet.


As a SADD member, serving as a role model and educating others around you is the best way to keep those around you safe. Last summer, I planned my traffic safety events in alignment with safety tips for the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer. Educating others can even be as simple as distributing flyers. I designed a colorful, attention-grabbing flyer that outlined road safety tips and delivered around town. Although it will require some help, allocating a few parking lots around town will help enhance the impact of the flyers’ message.“Repost” features on social media apps also help distribute digital flyers effectively and may reach more people than physical flyers. “Chalk the walk” is another fun idea for a traffic safety event. With the help of my sister, I wrote traffic safety messages in colored chalk. My favorite said “Don’t drink and drive” in front of a liquor store. It’s important to ask for permission before doing so, but most owners don’t mind, considering the rain will wash it away. Don’t forget to add the SADD acronym somewhere on your masterpiece! The coolest part was that our work did not go unnoticed; the chalk art became a topic of conversation as buyers entered the store.


Summer is just around the corner, so whether you're educating others, driving responsibly, or hosting traffic safety events, you can help make the 100 Deadliest Days of Summer the 100 Safest Days of Summer.


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For more info on ways to engage your peers in this critical education and advocacy, and ultimately help save lives, visit sadd.org/programs.

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