According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are the second highest cause of mortality for teenagers in the United States. Due to the rise in car accidents involving teens, teenage drivers may put other motorists at risk.
Teen drivers are inexperienced in driving, leaving parents uncomfortable when their children hit the road. As a result, establishing rules and standards and enforcing them is a smart method for parents to get involved in their young driver’s safety and security.
Causes of Teen Car Accidents
The following are the common factors that lead to teen crashes:
#1. Less Experience
Using prior experience to analyze other drivers’ actions is a big part of knowing what to do while driving. Teen drivers do not have the same experience as more experienced drivers when spotting unsafe circumstances.
They also have no prior experience making decisions while driving. As a result, they are more prone to make poor decisions, which can cause accidents.
#2. Night and Weekend Driving
According to statistics, over 90 percent of fatal crashes involving teenagers occur at night or on weekends. Reports also show how dangerous driving is between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m and Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays for the weekend.
Even individuals who drive at night daily find it more difficult. There is limited visibility, especially when the weather is not friendly. These issues become considerably more perilous when combined with a teen’s overall inexperience, which can cause deadly accidents.
#3. Distracted Driving
Using cell phones while driving is always risky, and teenagers are the ones who are most likely to do so. However, phone use is not the sole source of distraction; distractions such as changing the music or fidgeting with the navigation system can also lead to a crash. Thus, anything that diverts a driver’s attention off the road increases the risk of an accident.
It takes teens extra time to react to a potential hazard due to their inexperience. Anything that prevents them from detecting potential threats may cause them not to have enough time to act, leading to accidents.
Not just among teen drivers but across all ages, speeding is a leading cause of collisions. Speeding reduces the time a driver has to react to changes while driving. For safety, even a seasoned driver must adhere to the speed limit.
Teenagers often do not grasp how speeding affects driving. They frequently leave a lower following distance than drivers with more experience, reducing their reaction time. Teens are also less likely to understand how their vehicles manage severe weather, leading them to drive faster than is safe, even if they are officially under the speed limit.
Drunk driving is regrettably prevalent among teenagers. According to a poll, one out of every six teenagers gets into a car with an intoxicated driver. One in every 20 people who claimed to be one of these drivers is a teenager.
Teen drivers are more prone to accidents if they consume any amount of alcohol before driving. Even at Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels below the legal limit for adults, teen drivers are substantially more likely to be involved in a crash than older drivers with the same BAC.
#6. Not Wearing Seat Belts
One of the causes of teen driver accidents and injuries is the failure to use a seat belt. In-car accident seat belts have been shown to lessen harm and fatalities.
However, for seat belt protection to work, one has to wear it. Many teens, unfortunately, opt to ignore seat belts, placing themselves in danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teens and young adults have the lowest seat belt use rates compared to other age groups.
What Can Parents Do to Keep Their Teens Safe from Car Accidents?
Parents can play a vital part in keeping their young drivers safe by developing and enforcing rules and guidelines. Some of them include:
#1. Make Seat Belts Use Mandatory
According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data, wearing a safety belt reduces the likelihood of accident injuries by around 50 percent. Parents should teach their children that wearing a seatbelt regularly when driving should not be an option but rather a duty. Make sure their teens buckle up, whether they are drivers or passengers.
Setting a good example is a simple approach to conveying this message. Teens of parents who buckle up and require their young drivers to do so have a higher tendency of buckling up when they get behind the wheel.
#2. Avoid Distractions While Driving
Texting, talking on the phone, adjusting the radio, and so on are all examples of teen driving distractions. Trying to keep a teen away from all these may appear impossible.
Parents must ensure they teach their teens the importance of eliminating all current and potential driving distractions. Parents can do this by creating an awareness of the dangers of texting while driving and other types of distractions. It will help avoid teen car crashes and eliminate unwanted distractions while driving.
#3. Discouraging Drunk Driving
Remember, many teen drivers’ issue is their lack of judgment. Alcohol will compound the problem by slowing reaction time and impairing judgment. As a result, to avoid crashes, it is necessary to discourage them from drunk driving.
It is the responsibility of parents to educate their children about drunk driving. They should also warn them about getting into a vehicle driven by someone who has been drinking, an adult or a teenager.
#4. Obey Graduated Driver Licensing Law
The National Safety Council recommends that parents set up a graduated driving licensing program at home so that teen drivers can gain valuable experience. The graduated driver licensing program should cover the following:
- Prohibiting them from use of phones while driving
- In the first year after getting a license, limit teens to no passengers
- Set a 10:00 p.m curfew for night driving
- Zero acceptance of drunk driving
#5. Avoid Over Speeding
Parents should also make their teens understand the importance of never exceeding the posted speed limit while driving. They should be made aware that going above speed limits will create a significant impact during a collision. It can result in more injuries.
Furthermore, driving at a quicker speed impairs one’s capacity to judge upcoming events, resulting in errors in judgment and, ultimately, a crash. But when teen drivers drive at a reasonable speed, they can control unexpected situations which could lead to a mishap.
When it comes to teen driving collisions, the truth is that they are prevalent, terrible, and, in many cases, completely avoidable.
“Parents must educate their children about the dangers of unsafe driving and ways to avoid them,” says car accident lawyer Melissa Odama Hart. “Taking a proactive approach to teen driving safety can go a long way toward keeping them safe.”
If an impaired driver injured you or someone you love, contact a hard-working personal injury lawyer to assist you in filing a claim.