Teen Driving and Car Safety: A Complete Guide for New Teenage Drivers
Being relatively new drivers, teens are more prone to car-related accidents. In fact, the National Safety Council estimates that half of all teenage drivers will be involved in car accidents before graduating high school. But they also found out that teens who continue to practice driving with the help of their parents decrease their chances of getting into car crashes.
As teens, it is important to learn what we can do to be safe on the road.
As parents, it is our duty to ensure that our teens are properly educated on the rules of road as well as safe driving. To help you do just this, here are some useful resources in which you will find tips and guides for teaching the importance of driving safely to your teenage kids.
- National Safety Council: Teen driving
- Children’s Safety Network: Teen driving safety
- Healthy Children: Behind the wheel: How to help your teen become a safe driver
To offer a better picture of the consequences of reckless driving among teenagers, here are some statistics from Insurance Information Institute:
- In 2016, 2,820 teenagers aged 13-19 died from car-related crashes. Two out of three of those killed were male.
- Teenage drivers comprise 8% of all car crash deaths and 15% of all-terrain driver deaths in 2016.
- Most of the crashes involving teens happened around the months of May, June, July, August, October, and November. The accidents also occurred most frequently at around 9 pm.
- In 2016, 55% of all teen deaths were related to crashes in which another teenager was driving the vehicle.
- A report from the AAA Foundation in 2012 shows that the risk of fatal vehicle crashes increases with each additional teen passenger in the vehicle.
To learn more about the data presented above and what it may mean for the safety of your kids, visit the websites listed below:
- Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association: Teen driving statistics
- Insurance Information Institute: Facts + statistics: Teen drivers
- Safe Teen Driving: Statistics
Driving Safety Tips for Teens and New Drivers
Speeding, driving under the influence (whether drugs or alcohol), distracted driving, and driving while sleepy are the leading causes of car crashes involving teen drivers. Paired with their inexperience as new drivers, teenagers tend to get into accidents more often than other age group.
Here are some tried and tested tips to help teenagers drive more safely:
Don’t text and drive. A lot can go wrong within the few seconds you take your focus off the road and onto your phone. It is better if you keep your phone on silent, or better yet turn it off, when you’re driving. You can always check your messages once you arrive to your destination.
Always obey the speed limit. Speeding is seen as a contributing factor to vehicle crashes. It is better to err on the side of safety rather than risk your life and the lives of others.
Minimize distractions in your car. Aside from keeping your phone on silent mode, you can also refrain from playing loud music, fiddling with the radio/sound system, or eating while driving.
Learn defense driving. This includes always being aware of the traffic around you whether they be other cars or cyclists. Remember to not get too close to other vehicles in traffic and maintain large buffers when driving at faster speeds.
- National PTA: Teen driver safety
- National Organization for Youth Safety: Member resources
- State of Indiana: Driver guide for parents and teens
Common Driving Risks Faced by Teens (and how to minimize them)
Accidents cannot be fully avoided as a lot of external factors contribute to their causes. But you can minimize the chances of them happening by avoiding risky behavior when driving.
Texting or using the phone. Teens are more likely to answer and use their phones when driving. As mentioned above, these seemingly harmless seconds of distraction can cause a lot of potential risk. We recommend that you refrain from using any mobile devices while driving. If you feel like a call is important, remember to pull over to somewhere safe before answering.
Eating while driving. This still coincides with the distracted driving behavior. Remember to avoid doing this as it can contribute to possible accidents when your focus is divided between eating and driving.
Driving in bad weather. Being new drivers, teens are not that skilled yet when it comes to maneuvering slick roads or zero visibility instances. If you happen to find yourself in such a situation, it is best if you are already equipped with the skill of navigating these unforeseen conditions.
During winter, remember the importance of taking it slow as the roads may be more slippery than usual. In case of floods, remember that driving through one may ruin the car and put you in harm’s way. Cars in floods may stop running or may not be able to get enough tire traction to steer out of harm’s way. If you have no choice and are trapped, the best course of action is to leave the car and get to safety.
- Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia: Teen crash risks & prevention
- Students Against Destructive Decisions: Learn the causes and dangers of distracted driving
Resources for Teens
Just because you have passed the driver’s test doesn’t mean that your driving education should stop. Continue learning and practicing honing your skills.
You will find useful resources targeted to help teenage drivers below.
- Kansas Highway Patrol: Driving tips especially for teens
- CHOC Children’s: Bad weather driving tips for teens
Resources for Parents
As parents, it is your duty to ensure that your teen is equipped with the knowledge and skills to safely drive on the road. Make sure that they are aware of the traffic rules in your vicinity and practice defensive driving at all times. To help educate your kids about driving safety, you can use the resources found below.
- Cincinnati Children’s: Parents, talk seriously with your teens about driving
- American Academy of Pediatrics: Teen driving – A parent’s role
- Safe Kids: You can keep your teen drivers safer. Here are 7 ways that can help