Learning to drive is an important milestone in life, and while teenagers might find this liberating, driving is a serious responsibility. Because of their inexperience, teenage drivers more often engage in risky driving behaviors that put themselves, their passengers, and surrounding motorists at risk of injury or death.
Dangers faced by teen drivers include:
- Cell Phones – With the vast majority of teens owning a cell phone, using a cell phone while driving is a serious problem. Cell phone use takes a driver’s hands off the wheel, eyes off the road, and mind off the task of driving.
- Other Distractions – From talking to passengers to personal grooming, teen drivers don’t always understand how dangerous these seemingly innocent actions can be.
- Reckless Driving – Teenage drivers might find it exhilarating to race their friends on the roadways, speed through stop lights and stop signs, and engage in other reckless driving behaviors, but these behaviors are incredibly careless. Not only can reckless driving cause accidents, but reckless driving can also increase the severity of accidents.
- Drinking and Driving – Although the drinking age is 21, some teenagers will find ways to drink, and some will drink and drive. Because they don’t want to get caught drinking illegally, many teen drivers will drink and drive rather than call a cab or ask for a ride home from a sober family member.
- Not wearing a seatbelt – Seatbelts can save your life in the event of a crash. Despite this, some teenagers might not use seatbelts for various reasons.
The risk of a car accident is higher for teenage drivers than any other age group. Every year, around 2,800 thousand teenagers die in auto accidents and hundreds of thousands more are injured. The best way to prevent car accidents caused by teen drivers is to talk to your teenagers about the responsibility of driving. Drivers who don’t drive safely put themselves, their passengers, and other motorists at an unnecessary risk.
Where Do Teens Learn Dangerous Driving Behaviors?
A study from Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Liberty Mutual surveyed 2,500 teen drivers and 1,000 parents, finding 55% of parents used some kind of application on their cell phone while driving and 62% talk on their cell phone while driving. The study also found that teens know the dangers of using a cell phone while driving. Thirty-three percent of teens have asked their parents to not use a cell phone while driving.
Unfortunately, even when they are not behind the wheel, parents can still teach their teenage drivers bad driving habits. The study also found that 50% of parents admitted calling their teenager when they knew he or she was driving at the time of the call.
Set A Good Example
There is no excuse for using a cell phone while driving or engaging in any other distracted driving behavior. To make the roads safer for everyone, parents have to set a good example for their teen drivers. This means all drivers should put down their phones and focus on the task of driving.