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Ways to prevent drowsy driving in teens during the school year

Health specialists often emphasize how important it is for a teenager to get enough sleep at night because it’s been getting progressively more difficult to do so lately. Not only do laptops and phones give them plenty of distractions to keep them up right before they go to bed, but they may end up staying up extra hours to get all their homework done after a busy day at school with their extracurricular activities.

Not only does a lack of sleep impact their performance in the classroom, but it also puts them at risk on New Jersey’s roads. If they are awake for too many hours, they can get just as dangerous as drunk drivers. As the first month of the school year wraps up, you need to start making plans to make sure your teen doesn’t fall asleep behind the wheel.

Help them maintain a healthy sleep schedule at home

Since your child is still living in your house, you can still directly affect when they perform homework or go to sleep. Keep a strict and reasonable curfew to ensure that they aren’t out of the house too long on a school night. Check to make sure they have all of their assignments done before they browse on the internet, play video games or watch TV. If their homework requires them to use the computer, check on them to make sure they aren’t distracted by a Youtube video and are procrastinating on their work.

Establish what time they should be in bed and what time they should get up as early in the school year as you can. If they aren’t up by a certain time, check in their room to see if they are still snoring and get them up. On the chance you’re not home, call their cell phone or the house phone to wake them up. Make sure you don’t put it off too long, otherwise your child could start rushing to school which also could lead to a potential accident.

Offer to drive if they are too tired

Sometimes, there are elements that are out of your child’s control. Maybe they went to overtime in their basketball game and couldn’t start homework until 10:00 p.m. In the event your kid is too visibly exhausted to operate a vehicle, you may need to drive them to class yourself just like the previous years.

Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee you’ll be available during the morning that this happens. If you know your child needs a ride to school, keep a list of potential contacts that would be willing to take them there. This could include your spouse, another family member, your neighbor or a parent of one of your child’s classmates.

If your child continues to struggle to keep a consistent sleep schedule on a weekly basis, then it’s very likely that they aren’t the only teen drivers at the school with the same problem. As more of your child’s classmates get their licenses, you should know what legal options you have available in the event of a motor vehicle accident.

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