What are the Most Dangerous Days to be a Teenager? The Answer May Surprise You.

Prom and graduation night are occasions when teen drinking can get out of control

Memorial Day is when we warn drivers to be cautious on the crowded roads. We also point out Labor Day, New Year’s, even Cinco de Mayo – all are occasions when it’s a good idea to drive with an extra measure of care, if road accident statistics are to be believed.

But if you’re a teen, you have two days that stand out as more risky than most, and they’re not national holidays: prom and graduation.  They don’t make it into the lists of highest traffic fatalities because they don’t occur on specific dates, but take place on various weekends through May and June.

Nevertheless, you should know that about a third of all alcohol-related traffic deaths happen between April and June, when proms and graduations are in season. Little wonder: these two events combine end-of-school euphoria, social pressure, alcohol, and the bad judgement that teenagers are known for.

So, knowing that proms and graduations are risky times, what can a parent do to keep their teens safe?

  • Establish and discuss rules before the night. These include no drinking, curfew, and how they will be getting to and from prom, and which party they will go to.
  • Don’t rent hotel rooms or other out-of-home venues for prom or graduation parties.
  • Get together with parents and organize a non-alcoholic post-prom party.
  • Discuss frankly with your teen your concerns about drunk driving. In addition to being more likely to drive drunk, on prom and graduation night your teen will be more likely to ride with a friend who has been drinking. Let them know that neither option is allowed under any circumstances.
  • Make sure they know they can always get a taxi, a rideshare or a ride from you if they need it.
  • Impress on them that if a friend is about to drive drunk, they will be heroes if they take the keys away.

Contrary to what some students might think, alcohol is not a necessary part of a prom or graduation party. There’s plenty of fun to be had without it, and you’re the one who can teach that lesson to your son or daughter.