This article was sent to us courtesy of  Don Elfrink,  the owner and operator of AutoMatStore, an auto flooring company based out of Columbia, Missouri. Before AutoMatStore, Elfrink was the operator of a automotive production site. AutoMatStore focuses on all-weather, logo, carpeted and molded car mats.  Thank you, for this good advice for teens, as well as adults, who should set the example for their kids’s driving by avoiding the same distractions. pb

Summertime should be carefree – a time to relax and unwind after the long school year. However, for teens getting behind the wheel, summer can be fraught with danger. In addition to heat-related dangers to their automobile, there are some very significant dangers that teens can pose to themselves. Before you get behind the wheel this summer, make sure you know what those dangers are.

1. Texting

Texting while driving has made national headlines – the number of deaths resulting from this horrible habit has skyrocketed, and many of those (the majority, in fact) are teens. Don’t text while driving. If you absolutely have to make a call, use a hands-free headset and leave the texts until you arrive at your destination.

2. Friends in the Car

You and your friends will be out of school and hopefully have the chance to enjoy some downtime together. However, driving with your friends in the car can be very dangerous. It can be very easy to become distracted – make sure your entire focus is on the road and not on other people in your car.

3. More Traffic

Teens are often inexperienced with driving in heavy traffic, and it’s difficult to find a time of year when there are more cars on the road than during the summer months. More cars equals more threats to your safety – make sure you are focused, paying attention and alert to possible threats from those around you.

4. Leaving the Pool

Hitting the pool to cool off is one of the best things about the summer months. However, if you’re leaving the pool wearing wet flip-flops, it might be best to think again. Flip-flops aren’t particularly safe footwear for driving anyway, and water only increases the chance that your foot will slip at a critical moment.

5. Share the Road

In addition to more automobile traffic, you’ll find that the warm summer months bring out bike and motorcycle drivers by the droves. Make sure you can share the road with others and pay attention. Bikes and motorcycles are easy to overlook, and taking the time to look twice will save lives.

6. Dangerous Driving

Teen drivers are responsible for more auto accidents than any other demographic in the world, including seniors. Many of these accidents are the result of dangerous driving habits, including speeding. Getting where you’re going is not so important that you have to put your life and the lives of others in danger by driving too fast.

7. Eating behind the Wheel

Drive-thrus have revolutionized fast food and made it possible to grab a bite even if you’re in the middle of a road trip. However, eating behind the wheel is never a good idea. Before you unwrap that burger or start downing that hotdog, find somewhere to park and eat in safety.

8. Drinking and Driving

Summer is the time for parties, and teens attend their fair share. However, if there is alcohol available and you consume any, stay out from behind the wheel. It’s better to call for a ride than to risk your life and the lives of other people because of impaired abilities due to alcohol consumption.

9. Wear Your Seatbelt

“Seatbelts aren’t cool,” is something that many adults remember from their own teenage days. That hasn’t changed – teens always suffer from the delusion of “it can’t happen to me”. If you get behind the wheel, buckle up. Living is far cooler than dying.

10. Avoid Night Driving

Driving at night can be trying for even experienced adults, much less for inexperienced teen drivers. Unless you absolutely have to, stay off the roads after nightfall.