Risk Factors for Teenage Drivers
When you remind your teenager to drive safely, you may be met with an annoyed ‘eye roll’ or an “I know!” However, these reminders are incredibly important. Teenage drivers have less experience on the road and are more likely to end up in an accident. Let’s discuss some facts about teenage driving, unique risk factors, and what you can do as a parent to ensure your child’s safety.
Statistics About Teenage Driving
- Teenagers are 10x more likely to be in a fatal car accident than adults.
- Motor vehicle crashes are the number one cause of death for teenagers.
- One-third of all teen driver crashes occur at intersections.
- 31% of fatal teen car accidents are caused by speeding.
- ⅔ of teenagers killed in car crashes are male.
These statistics are not meant to scare you, however, it is important to be aware of these trends among teenage drivers.
All drivers take risks when they get behind the wheel. When it comes to teenage drivers, though, they face unique risk factors that make them more likely to crash than adults. We’ve put together a list of some of the risk factors that have a stronger impact on teenagers so that you and your children can be aware and take necessary precautions.
Teenage Driving Risk Factors
Everyone has to start somewhere. Once teenagers pass their road tests and are officially licensed, it is just the start of practicing how to drive.
As your teenager continues to practice driving, they will get better at:
- Understanding basic car maintenance
- Knowing the rules of the road
- Paying attention to blind spots
- Understanding how to handle unexpected situations
After many years of driving, these skills become second nature. For teenagers, it takes much more active thinking to drive a car.
Teenagers with teenage passengers in the car are significantly more likely to crash. This serves as a major distraction to the driver. As mentioned above, young drivers need to actively think about every move they make while driving. When engaged in conversation with passengers, or listening in to their friends laughing and shouting, they are more likely to mentally disengage from the task at hand - driving.
It’s common for teenagers to be glued to their phones. Unfortunately, it’s also common for teenagers to feel invincible. This can create a dangerous combination when teenagers are tempted to text while driving. 33% of high school students report that they have texted while driving.
Texting isn’t the only distraction for teenage drivers. They also break focus in order to adjust the radio, use their GPS, eat while driving, and gaze at surroundings outside of the car.
Peer pressure has a huge effect on teenagers. This is true for nearly everything, not just driving. However, peer pressure can have a dangerous effect on the choices teenagers make when driving.
Multiple studies have found that when teenagers have passengers in the car, they:
- Ignore driving risks
- Are more likely to make illegal driving maneuvers
- Are more likely to drive aggressively/speed
Unfortunately, some teenagers’ desire to impress their friends can lead to major car accidents.
DUI is a risk factor for people of all ages. For teenagers, however, it happens more often than you might think. It’s common for teenagers to begin getting curious about alcohol and try drinking with their friends. This is typically kept a secret from their parents. When it comes time to get home, teenagers may fear the consequences of their parents finding out they were drinking more than the consequences of an underage DUI.
How Parents Can Promote Safe Driving
It’s impossible to control everything your teenager does; it’s inevitable that they are going to make risky decisions at some points during their young adulthood. However, there are steps you can take as parents to promote safe driving and encourage them to take road safety seriously.
- Make sure they get lots of practice on the road: lack of experience driving is the main risk factor for teens; make sure that while your teenager has their driving permit you consistently take them to practice driving in different road conditions.
- Be a good example: even as teenagers, your children will learn and implement behaviors from what they see you doing. Make sure you follow the rules of the road and drive safely while they are in the vehicle.
- Teach car maintenance: set time aside to teach your teenagers basic car maintenance such as: how to change a tire, how to check the oil, how to put air in the tires, and what to do if the check engine light comes on.
You may even want to set up a driving contract with your teenager. This could list out rules for:
- How many passengers can be in the car
- What time of day your child is allowed to drive
- How far away they are allowed to travel
- Contacting you if they are in a situation where they are not able to drive safely
Within this contract, you may also wish to include rewards for safe driving.
Understanding the risk factors for teenage drivers and taking these actions as parents are some of the ways that you can keep your children informed and safe as they gain new independence on the road.
Scranton Accident Attorney
Even when taking every necessary precaution, some accidents are unavoidable. When other vehicles ignore road safety, they put everyone at risk. If your teenager was hit and injured by another driver, contact Rogan Law today. We can help evaluate your claim and fight to get your child the compensation they deserve.