Safe Driving Tips For Teens

Written by on November 7, 2013 in Family - No comments | Print this page

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Traffic accident rates among teens is higher than those among any other age group. What causes teens to be such risky drivers? Well, there are a number of factors that contribute to teen car accidents, including texting while driving, intoxication, recklessness, and other distractions.

Risk Factors

Some of the most common risk factors include:

  • Poor Hazard Detection: The ability to detect potential hazards requires perceptual and information-gathering skills. Most young drivers have not fully acquired this ability yet.
  • Low Risk Perception: Young drivers tend to underestimate the degree of threat posed by a hazardous situation.
  • Risk Taking: Teenagers take more risks when they’re driving. Most of them are overconfident in their driving ability. They also engage in risky behavior such as speeding, tailgating, and violating traffic signs and signals.
  • Low Seat Belt Use: Teens wear safety belts less often than other drivers.
  • Lack Of Experience: Teen drivers have not been driving long enough to have completely mastered vehicle handling skills.
  • Alcohol And Drugs: Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a common reason for serious and fatal car crashes among teens.
  • Driving With Passengers: The risk of crashing increases when teens carry other passengers in the car. The risk of a fatal crash increases as the number of passengers increases. Other teenaged passengers can be a distraction to teen drivers and encourage them to take more risks on the road.
  • Driving At Night: The per mile crash rate among teen drivers is three times more likely after 9 p.m. This is because teens aren’t as experienced at driving at night as they are during the day. Night driving is more difficult than driving during the day and teen recreational driving, which often includes alcohol, is more likely to take place at night.

Safety Tips

If you are a parent of a new driver, I’m sure these risk factors are unsettling. Fortunately, there are tips you can share with your teen to make him or her a better driver.

1. Don’t solely rely on driver education. Driver education is a convenient way to teach teens how to drive, but it doesn’t always produce safe drivers. You should also take time to help your teen practice safe driving and set a good example while driving by using lessons your teen learned in drivers ed.

2. Restrict night driving. Most nighttime crashes among teens take place between 9 p.m. and midnight. You can reduce their risk of getting into an accident by restricting nighttime driving after 9 p.m. Driving late at night requires more skill and it’s when most recreational outings occur, which more often than not, involve alcohol.

3. Restrict passengers. As I stated earlier, one of the reasons teens get into car accidents is because of distractions caused by other teen passengers. The best policy is to restrict passengers, especially teen passengers, at all times.

4. Help your teen practice driving. Take an active role in helping your teen learn how to drive. Do a series of practice sessions with your teen in different situations. Practice driving at night and as your teen driver becomes more experienced, practice in heavy traffic areas and on the freeway.

5. Choose vehicles for safety, not looks. Every teen wants their first car to be something flashy. It’s important that you make sure you choose a vehicle that reduces their chance of crashing and offers protection incase they do crash.

When you, as a parent, understand the risk factors involving young drivers, you can be proactive in improving the situation for your own teen driver.

Trisha Banks is a blogger for Loewy Law Firm in Austin, Texas. Trisha wants to know why the rate of car crashes among teens is so much higher than those among any other age group. 

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