1. Risk Taking:
We all remember being a teenager and feeling invincible. This false mindset often leads teen drivers to take risks, like speeding, driving while intoxicated, or driving distracted. While many teens have the ‘it’ll never happen to me’ mindset, statistics show 6 teens die and 650 are injured every day in America because of motor vehicle accidents.
All drivers should use a safety belt and insist that all passengers do too. About 2/3 of teens killed in vehicle crashes were not wearing seat belts. Wearing a seat belt reduces your chances of being hurt or killed in a crash by 45%.
1/3 teen fatalities involve speeding. Remind your teens that it’s better to arrive late than not arrive at all. Obey the speed limit at all times.
Driving solo is safest for teen drivers. The fatal crash risk increases for each teenage passenger in a teen driver’s car.
5. Cell Phones:
It’s no surprise that using your phone to text, take selfies, browse social media sites, etc. is dangerous, but did you know even hands free devices can be dangerous? Taking your hands of the wheel OR your mind off the road increases the risk you’ll be involved in a crash.
While it may not but fun, studies have found it’s better for teen drivers to learn to drive without the distraction of music playing. Adjusting the radio is one of the most common distraction for drivers between the ages of 16 and 20.
7. Late Night Cruising:
It’s more challenging for inexperienced drivers to drive at night. Teen crash rates increase significantly between 9pm and 6am.
8. Driving While Impaired:
It’s important for teens (and drivers of all ages) to be aware of the fact substances other than alcohol can affect your ability to drive safety. Driving after consuming marijuana, certain prescription medications, or recreational drugs is extremely dangerous to you and others on the road.
9. Peer Pressure:
A teenager who generally makes responsible decisions may cave if pressured by peers. It’s important to truly understand the risk factors and the likelihood of injury or even death.
The combination of inexperience and overconfidence can easily lead to crashes, especially when new drivers encounter unfamiliar or unexpected situations. Parents should regularly talk to their teens about safe driving practices, and monitor teen drivers – even after they get their license.
Sources: National Safety Council, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration