Road Safety for College Bound Students & Auto Accident Prevention
Universities as well as college campuses across the country are coming to life with a new freshman class joining the hustle of returning students. For many, academic dreams in addition to degrees are on the verge of reality. Thousands of college students are hitting the road to school, so here are a few things to share with them as they set off over the next few weeks.
1. Buckle Up
Wearing your seatbelt is the most important safety mechanism in a vehicle for auto accident safety. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death in 15 to 20-year-olds in the United States. Wearing a seatbelt would prevent many of those deaths. Prevention is the key, therefore have your students and young adults read these proven safety methods to become safer drivers.
2. License & Registration, Please
As many as two-thirds of college students take a car on their big college adventure. Make sure license plate tabs are current as well as properly adhered to the vehicle. A citation for expired tabs is a lot cheaper than tuition, but can still hit the pocketbook hard if not taken care of ahead of time. Most college drivers are fairly new drivers, but it’s still a good thing to check that their driver’s license won’t expire while they are away from home. Just dotting the I’s and crossing our T’s here.
Do your homework here, “5 Considerations for Bringing a Car to College.”
3. Insurance in the Event of an Auto Accident
Make sure that your college driver has an insurance card with them. Usually insurance companies mail out coverage cards for each vehicle twice a year. You can request additional copies as needed. It is important for every driver in your family to know the details of their coverage if they are in an auto accident or must file a claim. Have them keep an insurance card in their wallet or vehicle at all times.
Discuss ahead of time what your expectations are for your student if they have a friend or roommate who wants to borrow the car. Some insurance companies won’t cover the vehicle and damages if an unauthorized person drove it. Review the policy with your student and explain the hard costs of liability, comprehensive, and collision coverage.
Lesson here, don’t make becoming a responsible grown-up any harder than it should be. Adulting 101, right?
Here are few things about car insurance and college students you should know about.
A car is an investment. Licensed professionals should service and maintain them to ensure longevity and safety of the vehicle. Knowing what warning lights indicate and reviewing the owner’s manual should be mandatory reading for the student away from home.
Learning how to charge a battery, change a flat tire, or check the oil are basic skills every driver needs to know. If you trust your child to leave home with one of your vehicles, train them to take care of it. That lesson can save them from being broken down on the side of the road one day.
Every state has different emissions requirements. Make sure your student knows your state’s emissions regulations and tests are completed, if required.
5. Watch Your Speed
Follow the speed limit….and SLOW down! Most auto accidents are caused by excessive speed and aggressive driving. Even with college classes getting set to start soon, the volume of traffic on the road is still pretty high for this time of year with holiday travelers and families squeezing in last minute trips in the sun before it’s back to their normal routines. Volume means congestion. And congestion means allowing more time to get where we are going.
Be alert. School zones, crosswalks, and parking lots mean lots of pedestrians. Driving School Refresher Tip: When a pedestrian is in the crosswalk they have the right of way. Watch out for bicycles and motorcycles as well. Accidents don’t just happen on the road. http://www.bisociety.org/back-college-means-back-accidents/
6. Locking and Lighting
There are locks on cars for a reason—SAFETY and SECURITY—so don’t forget to use them! Don’t leave valuables, like textbooks, backpacks, or purses where they can be seen in the car. Junk is not the only thing that should go in the trunk!
Many newer model cars come with fobs instead of keys. Make sure your college driver knows the key-code in the event they lose the fob.
Always park in well-lit areas, away from bushes and shrubs. A good safety technique is to approach the car with the keys already in hand, preventing eyes and attention going somewhere else. Keep those eyes moving and looking around for potential dangers.
7. Danger Ahead
Alcohol–There’s a false notion in our culture and media that associates college life with drinking alcohol. Frat/sorority parties, initiations, weekend parties—portray alcohol consumption among college age students almost like a rite of passage, as a means of fitting in and having a good time. Sadly, this does not come without consequences. Students getting behind the wheel exacerbate the problem. One in 5 college students admit to driving under the influence of alcohol. Have a frank conversation about CHOICES and CONSEQUENCES. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/childrens-health/articles/2010/06/02/1-in-5-college-students-admitted-to-drunk-driving-study-found\
Good news though! Studies show that those students who chose not to underage drink did so because their parents discussed the matter with them and the adverse consequences of such behavior. Informed students and drivers make better decisions for the long-term future. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/CollegeFactSheet/CollegeFactSheet.pdf
Distracted Driving—is normally associated with cell phone use in college students. “Distracted driving is a highly prevalent behavior among college students who have higher confidence in their own driving skills and ability to multitask than they have in other drivers’ abilities.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25133486 Surveys of college drivers noted that distracted driving laws would help curtail their cell phone use while driving. Changes in college drivers and noticeable results from newly minted distracted driving laws are still pending. Bottom Line—Encourage your student to “stow before you go” any distractions that may occur while they’re driving.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident, on campus, or somewhere in between, don’t hesitate to contact Fielding Law Group today for help.
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