There are thousands of accidents every year that involve teenagers. A collision is one of the worst nightmares for the parents of a newly licensed teen, yet statistics show that teenagers are at a much higher risk of being in an accident before their 18th birthday than any other time in their life. So what exactly is the cause of higher teen crash rates? You already know that cell phones pose a serious risk, but there are many more potential hazards. Continue reading to learn more about the dangers young drivers face on the road.
It is impossible to gain experience without time behind the wheel. Although teenagers in Arizona are required to complete a minimum of 30 hours of instruction behind the wheel before obtaining a provisional driver’s license, it takes many years to develop the skills necessary to drive safely and anticipate the actions of other drivers. Unfortunately, many teens overestimate their driving abilities. Even “good kids” are subject to common rookie mistakes, such as tailgating or passing dangerously. As a parent, you can help reduce the risk of a crash by continuing to ride with your teen at least once per week to provide feedback even after he or she has acquired a provisional driver’s license.
2. Young Passengers
According to the National Safety Council, the presence of just one young passenger in the vehicle with a teen driver increases the risk of a crash by 44 percent. Unfortunately, it does not matter if the passenger is an immediate family member, such as a brother or sister. Both peers and siblings can create distractions for young passengers. Here in Arizona, state legislation already puts restrictions on the passengers in a newly licensed teen driver’s vehicle. For the first six months after being licensed, only one peer under the age of 18 is allowed in the car without a parent or legal guardian present. There are currently no limits on the number of siblings allowed in the vehicle, although parents may choose to delay letting brothers and sisters ride in the car with a new teen driver.
3. Nighttime Driving
Driving at night is very different from driving during the daytime. Studies show that teen drivers ages 16 and 17 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash at night, starting as early as 9 p.m. While teens need plenty of practice developing the skills necessary for nighttime driving, this is best done under the supervision of a responsible adult. Avoid letting your teen drive alone at night – at least for the first one to two years after licensure.
Speeding has quietly been on the rise among teen drivers. USA Today cites data from the Governors Highway Safety Association that shows speed is now a factor in 1 out of every 3 crashes involving teen drivers. Unfortunately, speeding is often a learned behavior. Teens who see their parents routinely drive 5 or 10 miles over the speed limit may excuse themselves to do the same whenever they are late.
Worse yet, many teens fail to slow down when driving in dangerous weather conditions. Even driving the posted speed limit, they go too fast to maintain control of their vehicles in icy, wet, or foggy conditions. Be sure to talk with your teen about the dangers of speeding. Parents can also install electronic speed monitoring devices that accumulate information about a young driver’s activity behind the wheel.
Drinking and driving is a bad idea for anyone – especially not teens. No parent wants to think about their teen making poor decisions, but bad things happen when teens succumb to peer pressure. Talk regularly with your teen about the dangers of driving impaired, whether it is due to drugs, alcohol, medication, or even fatigue. Educate them on what to do if they find themselves in a situation where they are unable to drive and are in need of a ride.
Here at Vanyo Insurance Group, we want our customers to be as safe as possible. Visit the International Institute for Highway Safety for more information about teen driver risk, and contact our office to ensure your young driver is protected with the right coverage. We offer car insurance for teens that offers a safety net if your teen is involved in an accident. Call us today. We look forward to serving you soon.