High school prom and graduation season is a time for joy and preparing for the future. They are both important rites of passage for our children, but they can also be a dangerous time with many temptations.

While teens are worrying about getting the perfect dress or tux, flowers and hair style, parents are worrying about the safety of their children. These can remain joyous events if parents and children discuss responsible behavior and the repercussions of bad choices.

Communication is the key. Talk with your student about what it was like when you attended prom and graduation, and express your desire for them to have a fun and memorable time too. During your discussion lay out some ground rules about what you expect from your child including:

  • That they stay in contact with you and provide updates
  • They let you know who is driving
  • They inform you where they are going after the event
  • The agreed time they will be home

And most importantly, talk about the dangers of:

  • Distractions and distracted behavior (texting, eating or taking eyes off the road while driving to interact with passengers)
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Not observing speed limits and other road rules
  • Getting into a vehicle with an impaired or aggressive driver
  • Not wearing seatbelts

Don’t be afraid to offer your child the option of calling you, with no repercussions, for help or advice if they feel unsafe. Letting your child know they can get a safe ride home, no matter what the circumstances, can save their life.

Safe driving isn’t an accident; it’s the result of strong parental involvement and setting expectations. That’s why California Casualty is a founding member and continued supporter of Impact Teen Drivers, a nonprofit that educates parents and teens about the dangers of distracted and reckless driving. Their presentations and peer-to-peer messaging saves lives.

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