Students of all ages have officially started the 2017-18 school year. Along with preparation for in-classroom learning, it is also a time to ensure safety to and from school and extracurricular activities, especially with new drivers on the road and parents juggling busy schedules. SYLVANIA Automotive, the leader in automotive lighting solutions for the automotive aftermarket and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), in partnership with the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS), wants to remind teenage drivers and parents to prioritize safety and automotive maintenance before hitting the road.
According to recently published research from AAA, new teen drivers are three times more likely than adults to be involved in a deadly crash. Whether heading back to college, driving to the first day of class, or volunteering for carpool duty, it’s important to remind teens of the importance of safe driving – from following the rules of the road to keeping vehicles in good working order, which includes making sure that vehicles have properly functioning windshield wipers, brakes and headlights. With cars often being passed down through a family, and young drivers operating older model vehicles, it's imperative that these factors are considered regularly – particularly headlights, as they dim and wear over time, causing reduced downroad and side road visibility.
Furthermore, with darkness setting in earlier each day, it’s critical to make sure that headlights are shining sufficient light on the road ahead, and that they are aimed properly to help drivers see farther down the road, enabling them to more quickly react to obstacles.
“Back-to-school is an exciting time, especially for young drivers who may be transporting themselves to and from school and to extracurricular activities in their own vehicle,” said April Rai, Interim Executive Director of NOYS. “This presents a great opportunity to instill safe driving and vehicle maintenance best practices in our youth to ensure that they arrive to locations safely. Car crashes remain the number one cause of death for teens in the U.S. Speeding, drowsy, distracted and impaired driving greatly increase the risk of an accident, especially for new drivers. Just facilitating a conversation about these issues helps young drivers to identify and avoid hazardous situations.”
“Coupled with education, the importance of regular auto maintenance should not be disregarded,” said SYLVANIA Automotive’s Marketing Manager, Brian Noble. “One of the simplest, yet most effective measures to keep today’s youth safe on the road is high-performing headlights. It’s engrained in new drivers that turn signals and seatbelts are necessary for safety, but what’s often overlooked plays a critical role in keeping drivers safe. Headlights increase visibility allowing drivers to see farther down the road to avoid hazards or other oncoming obstacles. Educating young drivers about headlight maintenance, including DIY tips on how to replace burned out or damaged headlights, will teach them the value of farther downroad and side road visibility and increase their safety while driving.”
To stay safe on the road this school year, SYLVANIA Automotive and NOYS encourage drivers to:
Drive with Added Caution at Night
A survey conducted by SYLVANIA Automotive found that two-thirds of drivers are concerned about driving at night, when visibility is significantly decreased. As the days continue to get shorter and it becomes dark earlier, driving at night becomes unavoidable. Headlights increase visibility and are an active safety item to help ensure drivers see objects and hazards in the road sooner.
Seat belts must be used at all times when riding in a car. Research shows that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half. Participate in the NOYS Seat Belts Save challenge to share the message that wearing a seatbelt is not up for debate – they must be used in every seat, every time. It is the driver’s responsibility to enforce this message and to make sure that all passengers are buckled-up.
Prioritize Vehicle Maintenance
Many young drivers eager to hit the road fail to acknowledge that with driving, comes the responsibility of regular vehicle maintenance. The same SYLVANIA Automotive survey found that more than one third (34 percent) of drivers have never changed out their headlights, although 63 percent admit changing out their headlights is a very important precautionary measure. While most drivers acknowledge the benefits of proactive vehicle maintenance, few take the necessary action when it comes to preventive maintenance.
Any activity that takes attention away from driving is considered a distraction. Young drivers especially need to give 100 percent of their attention to the road. Distractions behind the wheel can lead to dangerous and even fatal incidents, and according to the National Safety Council traffic death rates are three times greater at night than during the day. Awareness and visibility are key components in decreasing fatalities, as every second and foot counts when reacting to a situation on the road.
Take Care of Older Vehicles
As cars are often passed down from parents to kids for their first car, it’s important to ensure older vehicles are updated with all the necessities – headlights, wipers, breaks, tires, etc. Particularly with headlights, which many drivers don’t replace until they aren’t working, dim headlights fail to provide maximum downroad lighting. Parents must consider the threshold they are willing to allow for less downroad (and even side road) vision – ten feet, twenty feet, fifty feet?
For improved safety this school year, the SYLVANIA SilverStar® family of automotive lighting includes a variety of value-added headlights to suit individual needs and driving styles. SilverStar ULTRA headlights are designed with safety in mind, to be the farthest downroad headlight from SYLVANIA Automotive and to improve contrast and clarity of objects on the road. Together, these features enable motorists and teen drivers to see farther down the road, with increased side road and peripheral visibility.
SYLVANIA Automotive is an annual NOYS member, showcasing its commitment to educating youth on the importance of safe driving and headlight maintenance. For more information on SYLVANIA Automotive please visit www.sylvania-automotive.com.
NOYS was originally founded as the Traffic Safety Collaboration and for its first 10 years was supported by funding from government agencies, including the Department of Transportation. In 2005, NOYS became a 501(c)(3) organization and incorporated as the National Organizations for Youth Safety, and has since grown to include over 100 national member organizations. NOYS continues to maintain a strong focus in traffic safety with support from government and businesses, and has expanded to include other safety areas such as injury prevention, substance abuse prevention, and violence prevention. For more information on NOYS, visit www.NOYS.org.
OSRAM SYLVANIA, together with OSRAM GmbH, is the world leader in automotive lighting for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and the aftermarket. The company’s global automotive lighting division has its principal North American operations in Hillsboro, N.H., with nearly 600 employees. In addition to TS 16949, this facility has also achieved ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications. Automotive Lighting designs, develops, manufactures and markets state-of-the-art automotive light sources, including auxiliary, advanced halogen, LED and high-intensity discharge lighting for interior, exterior and forward lighting applications. More than 400 lamp types are produced for cars, trucks, and electronics in facilities throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia. Automotive applications for OEMs are marketed under the OSRAM brand while products for the aftermarket are sold under the SYLVANIA brand.