The summer means the sweet smell of mowed lawns, vacations and for many people, a trip to the ball park. In Michigan, the Detroit Tigers are hoping that the last activity will lead to safer teen driving.
No, Justin Verlander and Prince Fielder won't be getting behind the wheel with kids from Grosse Point or Detroit, nor will you see drivers ed
instructors dressed up in Tigers jerseys. But the team will be joining with AAA Michigan to offer free tickets, watch batting practice and throw out the opening pitch at one of the games later in May.
The simple fact is that teen drivers often experience more freedom during the warmer months when they don't have any school obligations, and that's part of the reason that teens can also get discounted tickets at $10 for the May 28 and May 29 games. There, they'll be able to try their hand behind one of the simulators that AAA is bringing to the park and see how they'd fare in various situations.
Although it may seem like an unlikely bet, officials from the organization are also hoping that younger drivers and their parents will talk to AAA representatives about safer driving tactics during the summer. More likely, parents should see this as an opportunity to watch a good team for a discount with their children and pick up some tips about what to say to help them become safer drivers.
Summer is the season when teens can take advantage of graduating from their driver ed curriculum and head out to sports events, concerts, festivals and other day trips or longer. But there are also some tips that can help keep them safe. Here are a few:
1) Don't have more than one passenger in the car. Even if it's not the state law, trying to manage finding your way to a new place plus conversations can lead to tragic circumstances. If you're afraid that gas money may be hard to find, consider asking your parents for help in fuel costs for an additional car. Comparing the costs of distractions to a half tank of unleaded is probably worth it.
2) Add a half hour to your drive time for every 30-40,000 people expected at the event. This rough rule of thumb makes it less likely that you'll miss a turn or an exit because you didn't gauge your time. Plan for more time if you're going to be in more built-up areas around major cities, as well as any rural areas that don't normally see that amount of traffic.
3) Keep a couple of bottles of water in your road kit. No one likes warm water, but if your car breaks down on the side of the road on the way to a concert a couple hours away, it might be a while before you can get back to driving or picked up. Dehydration can be dangerous, especially on the sides of highways with little tree cover.