It’s time for tuxedos, dresses, boutonnieres, and slow-dancing as high schools around the area gear up for prom night.
Prom can be a very special time for teens, but not one without the temptation of underage drinking. AAA is urging parents and teens to remember that alcohol can turn that “night to remember” into a dangerous night that prom attendees will wish had never happened.
“This is the time of the year we hear tragic stories of teens getting into accidents as the result of drinking and driving,” said Terri Rae Anthony, AAA East Central safety advisor.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show a frightening number of teen crashes involve alcohol, she said — in fact, the NHTSA reports that in 2015, about 400 young drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes were driving drunk.
AAA offers these tips for teenagers:
• Be prepared to appropriately handle peer pressure to drink alcohol by saying no.
• Remember that safe, responsible drivers do not combine drinking and driving.
• Make a plan before you go out for the evening. Stick to that plan and keep your parents up to speed on where you are.
• Be open to having honest conversations with your teen about drinking. Also make sure to encourage questions from your teen, and pay attention to their answers for any early warning signs of underage drinking.
• Approach the conversation with an understanding attitude. Avoiding preaching to your teen can help make sure your message isn’t tuned out.
• Be clear in setting family ground rules against drinking or driving under the influence of alcohol. Also establish consequences to crossing those boundaries.
• Make sure you know where your teen is going and what their plan is after prom. Even though it may seem more desirable to have your child drink in your own home, don’t facilitate teen drinking.
• Offer to drive your teenager and their friends.