We all remember how exciting our high school prom was. The romance of getting dressed up and going to a fancy restaurant like adults, attending the dance with all your friends, then getting to stay out way past curfew.
If you have teenagers, you’re probably finding yourself relating more to your own parents this time of year, wondering how on earth they dealt with worrying about you on prom night.
There’s a lot to talk to your teenager regarding making responsible choices and staying safe on prom night. But when you cover these topics with them, consider this statistic from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: More teenagers are involved in more fatal car accidents during Prom season than any other time of year.
It goes without saying that it’s critical to educate your teenager about being aware of the increased risk of a car accident during this time of year. Here are some things to consider:
- Be sure there’s a designated driver. “Designated” shouldn’t just mean “sober” in this case. (as legally each and every prom attendee should be sober!). But have someone who is the responsible driver for the night, who is trusted to be able to drive safely and alertly and get everyone where the need to be. If you can afford it, a limo can provide just that - a professional, seasoned driver who won’t be distracted by the party-goers.
- Make sure you’re teens plans are in compliance with the Graduated Licensing Laws in your state.
- Establish check-in times/points. Require that your teen call in at certain times throughout the night (upon arriving at the prom location, when they reach their after-party, before heading home at the end of the night/morning, etc).
- Be a responsible host. If you’re lucky enough to host the after-party at your home, don’t allow alcohol in the house, and strictly enforce the rule. Your teen and their friends will be safer, and you will be protecting yourself from Social Host Liability.
- Host an "all-nighter" where once the teens arrive, they must stay the night. Collect their keys upon their arrival, returning them the next morning. Of course make sure you’ve coordinated this with the other parents, who, as a bonus in the teens' minds, may be more willing to let their teens stay out all night if they know they'll be safely staying in one place. This ensures they’re off the streets and not driving from party to party at the most at-risk times of night.
- Be cautions even when it’s not Prom Night. Unless you live in a small town, prom season runs for at least a month, as the high schools stagger their prom nights across many weekends. This means that your teenager may just be out for a normal night out with friends, but driving among others attending their own prom. Make sure our teen is extra alert when driving on these nights, and aware that other teenagers may be more distracted with their own prom festivities.
Here are some more Prom Safety tips.