Three Dangerous Pitfalls Teenaged Drivers Need to Know
Your teenager has just passed their driving test and is officially a licensed driver. Congratulations! Now beware! This is an exciting time for your kid, but it can be a scary time for you as a parent. The leading cause of death for 14 to 18 year olds is motor vehicle accidents. To protect your teenager you must understand the pitfalls that teen drivers face.
When teenagers pass their driver’s test they feel a strong sense of freedom. They have been learning and practicing with an adult in the car for months and now finally are allowed to go off on their own. Although these teens may believe they have had enough practice, they are still considered inexperienced drivers. This makes them more at risk for making a driver error, which accounts for 75 percent of accidents. A teen driver’s inexperience may present in many ways:
- Driving at night: This may seem second nature to experienced drivers, but for a new teen driver it could be a large risk. 40 percent of fatal accidents happen at night and most before midnight.
- Speeding: Many accidents occur because the driver was going too fast for the situation. For example, even if the speed limit is 45, on a heavily rainy day the driver should slow their speed. Another example would be a tight curve where the driver didn’t slow down enough. These are all precautions an older driver would have learned through experience.
- Driving with passengers: Having passengers in your car can be distracting for anyone but especially for a new teen driver. The risk of death increases by 44 percent if a 16 or 17 year old has another young passenger in the car. This percentage increases with each additional passenger.
Drinking and Driving
Drinking and driving is a risk for a driver of any age or experience level. However, the risk is even greater for teenagers. Nearly one fifth of 16 and 17 year olds who were killed in a car crash had been drinking. This is a dangerous situation for anyone to be in, especially an underage teen driver.
With the advancements in technology, distracted driving is more of a risk than ever. Distracted driving includes anything that takes the driver’s eyes off of the road. Looking at scenery or billboards, eating or drinking, putting make-up on, talking on the phone, texting, adjusting the radio are all dangerous distractions. One of the most discussed distractions these days is the use of cell phones. Although it is not illegal in every state, texting while driving can be extremely dangerous and greatly enhances the risk of an accident.
How can you help your new teen driver? The answer is fairly simple… be a good influence. When you are driving and your child is a passenger follow the same rules you would want them to follow when they are driving without you. It is also crucial to stay involved even after your teen has acquired a driver’s license. Although practice may not make perfect, it certainly is important!
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net by David Castillo Dominici