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EHvSvOeW4AAyvt_Many of us are trying to find ways to safely keep busy during these stressful times, and to hopefully use this time to our advantage. Staying safe and healthy is a priority within our state at the moment, but there are other safety concerns to also be aware of related to roadway conditions.

With summer just a few weeks away, we are already seeing warmer weather. This means we will see an increase of pedestrians out on bikes, as well as motorists – including new teen drivers – out on the road.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as all other drivers, and this is increased as the summer months arrive. In 2011, over 1,000 youth ages 15-20 died in traffic crashes during the summer season as compared to an average of 800 teen deaths during the non-summer seasons. Teen drivers, particularly 16- and 17-year-olds, have high fatal crash rates because of their limited driving experience.

This is why the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) has declared May as Youth Traffic Safety Month. The goal is to empower and engage youth to promote traffic safety awareness to their peers at the beginning of the deadliest season for teens on the roads, summer. Parents can be the biggest influencers on teens’ choices behind the wheel if they take the time to talk with their teens about some of the biggest driving risks. Parents should use this time to practice driver safety with their teens both on and off the road, as long as the teen is permitted to do so.

You can help make this summer the safest one yet by reminding teens to follow these key tips from NOYS:

1. JST DRV – avoid all distractions – they can wait!

2. ALWAYS buckle up!

3. NEVER drive impaired or ride with anyone who is!

4. PLAN your route and your ride – take the safest way and ride with safe drivers!

5. STAND up for your own safety – Speak up and get out if you need to!

To make the best of your teens’ driving experience and to ensure you have the proper information available to you as a parent, MAPFRE Insurance offers a teen safe driving program called TeenSMART, which provides an interactive computer-based training experience with in-car exercises to educate your teen about safe driving habits which can help reduce the risk of accidents. To learn more about this program, click here.

Although Massachusetts has seen a decrease in traffic over these past several weeks, there has been an increase in speeds. As a motorist, you should always keep an eye on your speed and pay attention to posted speed limits at all times. This will help avoid speed related crashes, and will also aid in keeping pedestrians and bicyclists safe. With the warmer weather approaching, more and more residents are eager to enjoy the outdoors. A great way to do this is to participate in National Bike to Work Day, taking place on May 15th. Essential workers can destress, avoid high speed roads, and take a breath of fresh air by riding a bike to work instead of driving, if they are able.

Even the safest of drivers can find themselves in need of assistance, which is why the MassDOT Highway Assistance Program sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance is here to help with fixing minor mechanical problems, flat tires, fuel shortages, and emergency situations. The Highway Assistance Program drivers monitor some of the state’s busiest highways and turnpikes around Metro Boston, Worcester, Springfield and Cape Cod (seasonal). The Highway Assistance Patrol covers 13 major state roadways and interstates, the Emergency Service Patrol covers the Mass Pike (I-90) from New York to Boston and the Incident Response Operators cover the Metropolitan Highway System and tunnels. The Highway Assistance Patrol is in service Monday–Friday between the hours of 6 a.m.–10 a.m. and 3 p.m.–7 p.m. During holidays, there are extended routes in heavy traffic areas. On I-90, and in Boston’s tunnel system, assistance is provided 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

Written By Patrick McDonald, CPCU, CEO, Northeast Region, MAPFRE Insurance

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