Prom season is upon us once again. Teenagers in Gwinnett, Fulton and Cobb Counties are shopping for fancy dresses and reserving tuxedos for the big night.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding prom night, but truth be told, it’s still an important rite of passage for most high school kids. Parents, too, want their kids to have fun and memorable times on prom night. But they also want their children to return home unscathed from the experience.

Beware of risky behaviors on prom night

There will always be prom-goers who flout the rules and engage in underage drinking. Even if your teen is not one of the drinkers, their safety could be compromised just by sharing the roads with an impaired driver on prom night. Make sure that your teen understands the perils of drinking and driving and of riding with those who are drinking alcohol.

Limit distractions

A carful of excited teenagers is by definition distracting. Don’t allow your teen to ride to prom with a carful of kids driven by an inexperienced driver. It’s a good idea to have several parents chip in to rent a limo or (sober) party bus to ferry the kids to and from the festivities. This ensures that an experienced driver is behind the wheel at all times.

Send them off with charged cellphones

If something goes wrong during the evening, you want your teen to be able to call you for a ride or arrange for an Uber. Prearrange a coded text with your teen that means “I want out of here. Come get me” that allows a young person to save face among their friends.

DUI danger is real

Georgia law enforcement is aware that prom and graduation season is an increased time for underage teenagers to drink and drive. Often, local police departments seek special grants to put more law enforcement officers on the streets on the weekends that high schools in the area hold their proms.

It’s possible that your teenager could face a DUI on prom night. Even over-the-counter (OTC) medications and cough syrup can affect the ability to drive a car. The late-night event can make teenage drivers sleepy and more likely to lose control in a wreck.

If your teen gets arrested on DUI charges this prom season, they will need their parents to be their advocate and make sure they present a strong and strategic defense to the charges.