Got a teenage driver? You need to understand the risk and look for teenage driver safety tips
Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death among young drivers, accounting for 38% of all deaths. Statistics for drivers 16-19 show that nine (9) teens died per day in 2008. Per mile driven, this means that teens are four (4) times more likely to be involved in an auto accident than their older counterparts. Teen accidents are preventable, and if you work with your child you can improve your teen’s safety while on the road, that is why we put together these teenage driving safety tips. In addition to these safety tips, consider the type of car your teen drives.
This teenage driver safety tips page can help you understand the risk and how to avoid accidents
Generally speaking, a teen’s lack of experience impairs their response to and recognition of hazardous conditions and can contribute to dangerous behavior such as speeding and tailgating. Teenage drivers are also more likely to have accidents later in the afternoon, in the evening, and when there are passengers in the vehicle.
High risk teenage drivers:
- Teens are more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations.
- Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter headway (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next). The presence of male teenage passengers increases the likelihood of this risky driving behavior.
- Among male drivers between 15 and 20 years of age who were involved in fatal crashes in 2005, 37% were speeding at the time of the crash and 26% had been drinking.
- Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate of seat belt use. In 2005, 10% of high school students reported they rarely or never wear seat belts when riding with someone else.
- Male high school students (12.5%) were more likely than female students (7.8%) to rarely or never wear seat belts.
- African-American students (12%) and Hispanic students (13%) were more likely than white students (10.1%) to rarely or never wear seat belts.
- At all levels of blood alcohol concentration (BAC), the risk of involvement in a motor vehicle crash is greater for teens than for older drivers.
- In 2008, 25% of drivers ages 15 to 20 who died in motor vehicle crashes had a BAC of 0.08 g/dl or higher.
- In a national survey conducted in 2007, nearly three out of ten teens reported that, within the previous month, they had ridden with a driver who had been drinking alcohol. One in ten reported having driven after drinking alcohol within the same one-month period.
- In 2008, nearly three out of every four teen drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes after drinking and driving were not wearing a seat belt.
- In 2008, half of teen deaths from motor vehicle crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and midnight and 56% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
What can parents do?
You’re reading about teenage driving safety, so you off to the right start. As the parent you have a great deal of influence on how your teen will behave behind the wheel. If you employ some simple strategies, you can assist your teen in their on-road safety.
Below is a quick summary of some strategies you can employ with your teenage driver:
Do your best to set a good example?
It may not always seem like it, but you have a powerful influence on your children’s driving character. They have been watching you for 15 years now, and have learned the basics from your example. So take each opportunity to set the right example. Always put on your seat belt prior to starting the car, don’t drive angry, don’t eat and drive, and don’t use your cell phone or text while driving. These are all things your child will do if you validate this behavior.
Make sure you set aside a lot of practice time with you teen
There is nothing better than you spending a lot of time with your teen practicing the rules of the road. Be patient and make it interesting. Try new routes and make it fun. Remember, this is an exciting time for your teen, so don’t be too hard on them, they are learning. But make sure your message is being understood.
When your teen gets licensed, slowly introduce new privileges
Set ground rules when your teen is first licensed and only allow them to drive under the safest conditions. Remember, teens are most at risk when there are passengers, later in the day or in the evenings. Only allow your teen to drive at set times and under the proper conditions, and slowly allow them more responsibility as they gain more experience.
No passengers for at least the first 6-months
Research shows that accident frequency increases with the number of passengers in the vehicle. In the beginning restrict your teen to only driving while under adult supervision, then allow them to drive solo (without any passengers) for a minimum of the first 6-months, or when you are confident that your teen can manage distractions. Even then, introduce passengers one-at-a-time until they are prepared to manage this responsibility on their own.
Teach your teen to look for hazards
When we are first driving, we have not developed the experience to drive and scan at the same time. Teens tend to focus on the vehicle directly ahead of them, blocking their ability to see other hazards and allowing for reaction spacing. In each if your practice sessions make sure you work with your teen to understand how to observe the entire traffic scene, including signs, signals, pedestrians, break lights and emergency vehicles.