What are the risks involved in teenage driving?
As a parent of a teenage driver, it’s spine-chilling to know that the risk of automobile accidents among 16-19-year-olds is higher than any other age group.
Thank goodness, teen vehicle crashes can be preventable with proven strategies that can improve the safety of teen drivers on the road.
Parents must realize they play a big role in keeping their teen drivers safe. Spend time teaching them the rules. Have a well thought out plan in place to teach your teen how to handle risky situations that might lead to a dangerous situation in a car.
Practice driving with your teen over and over until you are comfortable and they are comfortable with their driving skills.
Fact is that when parents take the time to discuss rules around driving safely and come to a bona fide agreement, teens are less likely to engage in risky behavior while behind the wheel. We think our teens are not paying attention to us; they are. They’re watching us and listening to us more than you think.
Knowing these risk factors will help you, as parents, to set rules and guidelines for your teens to keep them safe as they start to drive on their own.
Texting and talking on the phone when driving
Anything that distracts your teenager visually, physically involving hands off the wheel and mentally from the road are dangerous for any driver, but especially for inexperienced teen drivers.
Teenagers have a desire to speed, making it dangerous for everyone on the road.
You must have a serious discussions about the importance of not speeding and observing all traffic laws. Give them the horrifying dangers and facts about speeding, (Scare the bejeebers out of them if you must).
During your serious discussion, do not just focus your warnings against speeding only on the highway. Do you know that over 85% of all speed-related fatal accidents occur on non-interstate roads? The rule has to be no speeding anywhere.
Seatbelts on everybody, front and back, every ride
Make it a rule that your teen does not start driving until seatbelts are on everybody, front and back, every time, every ride. As a parent, you’re the one that sets the example so use your seat belt. Every time, every ride.
Restrict the number of teen passengers in the car
The chance of teenage drivers getting into a crash increases with every additional teenage passenger in the car. Other teens can be a distraction or can encourage risky driving behavior such as reckless driving or other unsafe activities.
The majority of state Graduated Driver Licensing laws often limits the number of passengers allowed during the intermediate stage. You can learn your state law at www.ghsa.org.
Drinking and impaired driving
There is absolutely no safe amount of alcohol a teen can drink before driving. Any impairment what so ever coupled with their inexperience behind the wheel is a recipe for disaster. Plus it is against the law.
Look, parents, this is a very real threat with one in 10 teens in high school drinking and driving. Please talk to your teen about the dangers and the consequences of drinking and driving.
Additionally, you must do all you can to encourage your teen not to get in the car with anyone who has been drinking.
Time of day and nighttime driving
Back in 2015, 48% of car crashes that resulted in teen deaths happened between the hours of 3 pm and midnight.
Therefore, before letting your teen drive from 3 pm and midnight, you need to give them more than enough of supervised chances to practice driving at night. Along with limiting night driving with a curfew, you could protect your teen from undue risk.
All kinds of weather and situations
Because teens are new drivers and lack driving experience, they most likely will not respond well in bad weather. Wet roads, snow-covered roads, heavy rain, limited visibility, and high winds can increase the likelihood of an accident. Although it is best to avoid these conditions altogether, it is critical that teen drivers receive supervised practice and instructions on how to drive in inclement weather before they experience it firsthand.
Teens need encouragement to speak up if they feel anxious
Inexperienced teen drivers may be anxious about a particular intersection, highway or activity, such as parallel parking. In these cases, the more often you guide your teen through these scenarios, the less stressful it will be when your teen drives through these alone.
Teens need your encouragement to speak up if they feel anxious about any situation. Discuss any fears or uncertainties your teenager is feeling. This will help your teens to overcome these fears. Give your teen multiple options for getting through the lack of confidence safely.
Drivers Education course
Teenagers between the age of 15 – 20 without a driver education course are responsible for 91% of teen driver crashes. (Oregon DOT, 2018)
A drivers education course will teach your teen the rules of the road from licensed professionals, with the know-how to train them.
Bottom line, Studies show that teens who are monitored by their parents tend to drive more safely, so be involved!