Teen Drivers and Car Accidents: 5 Deadly Mistakes
It’s a statistic that hasn’t changed – mile for mile, teenagers get into more car accidents than any other age group. And, car crashes are THE leading cause of death for 15-20-year-olds. The numbers are scary, and as parents, we want to do whatever we can to help prevent our children from ending up in a car accident. But, a surprising few parents surveyed say they have had serious talks with their kids about safe driving. Professional driving lessons or a driver’s ed course can be very helpful, but your teen’s driving instruction shouldn’t stop there.
Teen Driver Safety Week is October 18-October 24, so we’re sharing the best ways to encourage your teen to drive safely.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has started a campaign called “5 to Drive,” highlighting the five things teenage drivers need to remember when they get behind the wheel. There are certainly many more tips and reminders we could share – but these 5 are some of the most important.
5-to-Drive: Focus on the 5 Deadliest Driving Behaviors
1. Alcohol and drugs – Nearly a third of teen drivers killed in car crashes are found to have been intoxicated. In addition to alcohol, illegal and prescription drugs are becoming increasingly common factors in car accidents involving young people. Have a serious discussion with your teen about this issue, and put in place some safe alternatives. Make sure they know it is better to call for a ride than to risk getting behind the wheel or to get into a car with someone else who might be impaired. This is especially important at certain times of the year including homecoming, football season, prom, and graduation.
2. Cell phone use/texting – Cell phone distraction and texting while driving (as well as taking photos, videos, Snapchats, and checking social media) is one of the biggest safety issues on the road today. Talk to your teenage driver about how foolish and dangerous this can be, and insist that they never text or call you from the car while driving.
3. Seat belt – Seat belt use is perhaps the easiest way to prevent a fatality in the event of a car accident. In many cases, a seat belt is a difference between life and death when accidents happen.
4. Speeding – Another simple way to prevent a fatality is to just slow down. Teen drivers are likely to make mistakes on the road. Speed can be the difference between a fender bender and a deadly crash.
5. Extra passengers – This one can be tough, especially because teenagers will often carpool with their friends who don’t yet drive or don’t have a car, but it is extremely important to limit the number of passengers in the car with your teen driver. The addition of just one extra person can increase the chances of a crash.
One of the most powerful (and easiest) ways to instill good driving habits is to set a good example. Learning starts at home, and your kids will start to learn acceptable driving behaviors by observing you behind the wheel before they are old enough to begin learning to drive, and long after they have gotten their licenses. So, there’s one more reason to practice safe driving habits. Always maintain a safe speed, use turn signals, and never text while driving.
If you or someone you love is involved in a car accident that was caused by another driver’s careless or dangerous behavior, contact our office for a free consultation. Fill out our contact form, or call us at 855-866-5529.
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