Safety Advice for Teenage Drivers
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has reported that teen drivers have accident rates that are approximately four times greater than motorists age 20 and older. Here are some pieces of advice that your teenage driver can follow to reduce the risk of ending up in a car accident.
Why are Teenage Drivers at Risk for Serious Accidents?
Parents understandably approach their teenage children learning to drive with a great amount of anxiety. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that six teenagers between the ages of 16 to 19 die each day in motor vehicle crashes. Motor vehicle crashes are one of the primary causes of death among teenagers in the country.
Teenage drivers are at an increased risk of ending up in car accidents because they have less experience as drivers and often make poor decisions. Some of the most common factors that contribute to teenage driver accidents include:
- Teenage drivers are more likely than older motorists to speed. Excessive speed ends up playing a role in a large number of teenage driver accidents.
- Teen drivers and passengers who pass away in passenger vehicle crashes were often not wearing seat belts at the time of the accident. Seat belts have the potential to substantially reduce the risk of serious crash-related injuries as well as fatalities.
- Approximately 15% of motorists between the age of 16 to 20 who were involved in fatal motor vehicle crashes in 2017 had blood alcohol levels of .08% or higher. Teenage drivers should never combine alcohol or drug use with motor vehicle operation.
- Motorists under the age of 20 have the greatest chance of distraction-related accidents. Statistics reveal that in 2017, one out of every 10 fatalities associated with teenage motor vehicle drivers involved distracted driving. Teenage drivers should make sure to eliminate all potential distractions before operating a motor vehicle.
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Pick a Safe Motor Vehicle
Your teenage driver should drive a vehicle that is easy to operate and provides substantial protection in case of a collision. Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named several vehicles for each size category. Some of the Top Safety Pick vehicles include:
- Honda Accord
- Honda Insight
- Hyundai Santa Fe
- Mazda 3
- Mazda CX-3
- Mazda CX-9
- Subaru Forester
- Subaru Legacy
Enrolling Your Teen Driver in the Appropriate Safety Class
Simply put, the more driving experience a teen has, the more confidence he or she will have while operating a motor vehicle. This also means that with more driving experience, a teen will have an easier time responding to unexpected conditions that occur on the road.
Parents should assess whether their insurance carrier offers a “safe driver” program. Teens who participate in these programs can sign parent-teen driving contracts that address the young driver’s responsibilities as well as the penalties associated with failure to meet these requirements.
Discuss the Dangers Presented by Alcohol and Drug Use
Teens should never combine alcohol or drug use with motor vehicle operation. Similarly, teenagers should avoid being the passenger in a car with a driver who has used drugs or alcohol. Instead, teenagers should be informed that the best option, if such a situation occurs, is to make sure that they have a safe way to get home, even if this means breaking curfew.
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Emphasize the Dangers Posed by Distracted Driving
You should speak to your teenager about the importance of driving while not distracted. Distractions of any type including smartphones or texting while driving or fiddling with the radio can take a driver’s attention off the road for even a few moments and end up causing a deadly crash. Teenagers should also be responsible when functioning as passengers in the vehicles of friends.
Be a Good Role Model
Remember, parents and guardians influence the way that a young driver chooses to operate a vehicle. If you are a reckless driver, chances are good that your teenage driver will end up imitating you. For this reason, you should follow careful driving precautions like always wearing your seatbelt and never drinking and driving. Teenagers mature at different rates. Not all teenagers are mature enough to handle a driver’s license at the same age.
Utilize Teenage Driver Safety Features
Many motor vehicle manufacturers have begun to install features that help to promote safe driving practices. Some of these features include limiting the vehicle’s speed as well as reducing audio levels and monitoring seat belt usage. These safety features can make a substantial difference in what safety precautions the teenager motorist ends up utilizing. While parents might be tempted to purchase an inexpensive car for a younger driver, it is often a better idea to obtain a newer model that it is equipped with as many safety features as possible.
Keep an Eye on the Road Ahead
One of the most common causes of car crashes is tailgating. When a driver is hyper-focused on the car immediately in front, he or she can lose sight of the big picture. Tell your teenage driver to monitor the car ahead as well as the roadway in the distance, to stay alert to potential dangers. If a driver waits to react until something hazardous is immediately in front of his or her vehicle, it is almost always too late to respond safely.
Speak with an Experienced Long Island Car Accident Attorney
Driving is one of the most enjoyable rights gained by many teenagers, but driving has the potential to quickly turn dangerous if drivers are not cautious. If your teenage driver is involved in an accident and someone else is responsible, you should not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable Long Island car accident attorney. Contact Cohen & Jaffe LLP today to schedule a free case evaluation.