Did you know that teen drivers are three times as likely as adults to be involved in a fatal crash? In fact, one in ten of all motor vehicle crash fatalities that happen at night involved a teen driver. Of all motor vehicle deaths involving a teen driver, 29 percent were speed-related.
There are some common themes when it comes to accidents committed by teen drivers. We want to share the top 5, which can, and should, be discussed between parents and teens regularly.
- Speeding. Driving fast is part of the driving experience for many drivers, young or old. Unfortunately, those excessive speeds contribute to about one-third of fatal crashes for teens. This will happen more often when parents speed when they are driving. However, if teens and tweens see their parents regularly driving the speed limit, they are more likely to emulate that good behavior when it is their turn to drive.
- Distracted Driving. Whether a teen driver is distracted by a smart phone, other passengers, food and beverages, a ‘smart’ car’s features, or impaired by alcohol or drugs, their crash risk goes up. Parents can again be the best prevention for their teen drivers by demonstrating the behavior they expect from their teen driver. Don’t text and drive. In fact, put your phone away altogether while you are behind the wheel. Limit distractions while you are driving. Remind your teen that you expect them to follow these rules as well.
- Impaired Driving. Teen drivers are less likely to drink and drive, but when they do their crash risk is higher than adults. Teens are less experienced with both drinking and driving, creating a dangerous combination. As a parent, you should to talk to your children about the dangers of drinking or taking drugs (legal or illegal). As a role model, you should walk the walk. If you are impaired from alcohol or drugs, do not drive – for your safety and all those around you.
- Driving at Night. Thirty-six percent of all motor vehicle fatalities which involved a teen driver happened between the hours of 9 pm and 5 am. These high statistics show why most states have laws restricting how late teens can be on the road. Parents should reinforce these restrictions and be sure their teen drivers are home when they should be.
- Inexperience. When you are new at something, it takes a while to get used to all the things that can happen while you are doing it. The same is true for driving. When your teen is new to driving, their reflexes may not be quick enough to avoid a crash that would be second-nature for a more experienced driver. Over time, a teen driver will learn the signals to help them avoid an accident. Until then, continue to work with them and be their positive example.
Teens are new to driving and they may make mistakes. The more parents are involved with their teen’s driving education, the more they will be able to provide teachable moments to help their teen learn.
At Fresh Green Light, we work with teen drivers to help them be safe and confident behind the wheel. But it takes time. That is why they have to be behind the wheel for many hours before they can get their license, and many states have restrictions for teens. During the driver’s education process, teen drivers can learn a lot from their parents. Be a good example for them every day. Being a safe driver should not be turned on and off; it should be part of every drive.
For more information about Fresh Green Light, our locations and how we’re reinventing Driver’s Ed, go to www.freshgreenlight.com.