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Stay safe on the roads in prom, graduation season

The onset of spring means a busy time for Oklahoma high school students. There are final exams and the completion of term papers, as well as the fun of prom, graduation and parties.

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and that's a good time for parents to share tips with their kids about safety on the road – especially when alcohol might be involved.

Here's what parents can do:

  1. Talk to other parents about how they will supervise parties at their homes. Will they allow drinking? If they admit they will, you will have to decide whether, and under what conditions, your children might attend the parties.
  2. Find out what the plans are for transportation. There are dangers on the road every night but especially on prom night. Even if you trust your child won't be drinking, you won't have the same guarantees about the driver – or other drivers on the road. Consult with other parents about hiring a limo for the evening. If that price is out of the budget, you and other parents can discuss options for safe transportation.
  3. Remind your kids about the dangers of drinking and driving. Discuss how to fend off peer pressure. And let them know it is acceptable to call you for a ride if they're worried about getting in the car with someone who has been drinking.
  4. Throw the post-prom party yourself. You can do your best to throw a party free of drugs and alcohol. And just in case someone might smuggle some in, confiscate the kids' keys as the guests arrive. You won't give them back if you suspect the owner has been drinking.

And here's what teenagers should do:

  1. Teens who are driving should limit the number of people in the car. The risk of a fatal accident rises with the number of people in the car, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
  2. If the party ends late, don't drive because drivers aren't as effective when they're tired. Call your parents to discuss options. Spending the night, having your parents pick you up or requesting a ride-sharing service could be better ideas.
  3. Follow the law. Don't text while driving and remember your seat belt.

Prom and graduation are exciting times that should be full of nothing but good memories. Don't let them end in accidents that cause injuries or worse.

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