Prom is a time for dancing, dressing up and most importantly, spending time with friends and making memories to last a lifetime. It’s a milestone in every teen’s life. However, it can also be dangerous. Prom time can be an especially dangerous time to be on the road. Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens and about 1/3 of those accidents involve alcohol. Additionally, motor vehicle accidents and traffic-related incidents result in 31.8 percent of traumatic brain injury-related deaths.
Before you go to prom this year, plan ahead to make sure your prom night is safe for you and your friends, and prepare yourself to make smart decisions. Consider these tips, provided by BIA-MA Manager of Prevention Programs BJ Williams.
- Talk to your parents about your plans. Be open and honest with your parents about your plans for prom night. Let them know when you will be home, where you are going after prom, and all the other information they should know. They are going to be up all night waiting for you to come home and want you to be safe.
- Discuss driving arrangements before prom night. Talk with your friends prior to prom night about who is going to be driving. Are you getting a limo? Are your parents driving you to prom? Are you driving yourself to prom? Whatever you choose, make sure all parties involved are on the same page.
- Avoid hotel room parties. A hotel party is nothing but trouble. Hotel parties could include non-high school people and even fellow students supplying illegal substances. You do not want to be present there if the police show up or an adult finds out. Not only is it an unsafe situation, but it can also open you up to trouble with your school, parents and with police.
- Discuss your school’s prom rules with all of your friends and their dates before prom. Different schools have different rules for prom. If you do not want to risk not walking at graduation or jeopardize getting a diploma, then make smart and safe decisions.
- Keep in contact with your parents during prom and after. Keep your parents in the loop about what is going on. They will be the best free ride or helping hand to call when you are in a position that you want to get out of and just need a ride home.
- Stay away from locations with alcohol or drugs. Being in a room, house or any location where alcohol and drugs are present can lead everyone at that location behind bars. Be familiar with laws such as “social host” and “minor in possession” before you’re at the wrong place at the wrong time.
- Don’t let friends change plans for other, last-minute “better” plans. Do your best to have all your friends stay together and on the same set of plans. Staying together will make the night more enjoyable and safer for all of you.
- Use the buddy system. Talk with a close friend or date and agree to stick together so that you are not left alone in case anything happens or plans change.
- Do not drive in the car with someone who has been using drugs or alcohol. If you are stuck in a bad situation or left somewhere, do not get in the car with someone you don’t know or someone who has been using drugs or alcohol. If you have been talking and communicating with your parents call them to come pick you up. Make the safe decision!
- Enjoy prom and remember it! Have fun at prom dancing, taking pictures and hanging out with friends. And of course, make the smartest and safest decisions so that you can talk about the great memories from prom for years to come!