Sadly, teenagers and new drivers are amongst the most at-risk groups for collision fatalities. The combination of inexperience on the road with additional risk factors present a formidable hazard for young drivers. Young drivers may be very excited to get on a highway, but parents must instill some best practices to help them ensure safe behaviors on the road.
The statistics don’t lie
A 2016 study reported that over 1 million teens were involved in a vehicle collision, with over 3,200 resulting in deaths. Research by AAA demonstrated that fatality risks had a steep rise when other teens were passengers in a vehicle. Fatalities increased by 45 percent for the teen driver and 56 percent for other vehicle occupants. Teen passengers represent a greater likelihood of a fatal collision than an older occupant (51% increase in fatality rates compared to 35%). Here are some best practices that teen drivers should learn before getting on the road:
Reduce distractions: Distracted driving is a significant cause of collisions nationwide. Parents should make sure that young drivers know how dangerous using cell phones, playing loud music and have multiple teen passengers in the vehicle can provide more than enough distraction to increase the likelihood of an accident.
Temporarily avoid night driving: Teen drivers need to familiarize themselves with road conditions in full light before transitioning to night driving. The change in visibility plus the addition of oncoming traffic headlights can obscure road obstacles and dangerous situations. This time of day also increases the chance of sharing the road with drunk drivers or the driver acting unsafely. Fatigue and tiredness present another form of potential impairment.
Don’t ever drink or use drugs and drive: The impairment of substance consumption and the alteration in judgment can create a deadly mix for young drivers. There is no scenario where a teen driver should drink and drive.
Protect new drivers
As parents, you want to see your children explore their new freedom safely and conscientiously. It would help if you repeated these lessons to improve your child’s likelihood of absorbing and implementing these strategies for safer driving. Let them gain experience in the best of conditions before they can become accustomed to hazards that could come with night driving or inclement weather conditions.