Tragedy Often Strikes on Prom Night – 12 Tips For Teens Driving on Prom Night

A tragic story from the Associated Press, as carried by the Charleston Daily Mail:

A Northern California mother is dealing with a double tragedy after her daughter was killed during a weekend prom date and her son was severely injured in a car crash. Jennifer Carrigan and Steven Furtado were found dead Sunday by Carrigan’s mother at a house in Chester, about 150 miles north of Sacramento. Both were 18.

When told of his sister’s death, 20-year-old Billy Carrigan headed home from Berkeley. Shortly before 7 p.m. Sunday, just before he reached Chester, Billy Carrigan crashed his Toyota Tacoma pickup truck into a stand of pine trees along Highway 36.

Read the entire article here.

The article did not mention how or why the daughter was killed, but it is a tragic story and it is one of dozens each year that illustrate the dangers of teen drivers – especially on prom night. Sadly, every year Americans hear reports of prom-goers getting into car accidents as a result of drinking and driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has worked passionately since 1980 to lower these statistics. It’s been a successful campaign, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which reports that drinking and driving among teens dropped 35% from 1990 to 2005.

Nationwide insurance company published a list of 12 tips for driving on prom night that every teen should read:

For teens:

– Always wear your seatbelt and make sure everyone in the car does, too.

– Concentrate and drive defensively. There are likely to be a lot of impaired drivers on the road prom night.

– Have directions to the dance — even drive by the location during daylight hours — if the prom is not held at your school so you know where you’re going.

– Understand that the average vehicle weighs 3,000 pounds. It may be easy to drive, but it’s still a heavy hunk of metal.

– Never allow someone who has been drinking to drive, no matter how confident the driver is about his abilities. It’s not worth the risk.

– Remember that tired drivers are dangerous, too. If you’re barely awake, you shouldn’t be behind the wheel.

– Call home to get a ride. No matter what time it is, parents would rather pick you up than have you drive in a dangerous situation.

– Take your cell phone to prom so you have one in case of emergency.

– Take a spare pair of comfortable shoes with you for driving so you don’t have to hit the brakes while wearing unfamiliar high heels or bulky dress shoes.

And for parents:

– Make sure you know where your child is going to be during prom and at the after-prom parties.

– Don’t allow too many prom-goers into one vehicle. (More passengers means more distractions.)

– Consider a limo or an adult driver to chauffeur students — someone who has more experience driving at night and someone who is not hopped up on prom night adrenaline.

Read the entire publication here.

– John H. Bryan, West Virginia Car Accident Attorney.

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