Getting into a car accident is a frightening experience. No matter their level of experience and caution on the road, drivers can sustain damages in a collision caused by someone else. Still, novice drivers might be more susceptible to car crashes because they might lack skills and discernment only more seasoned drivers possess. Teenage drivers, especially, can be too young to make critical decisions behind the wheel.
Crashes involving teenagers are widespread in the United States. In 2020 alone, around 2,800 teens died, and 227,000 suffered injuries in traffic collisions. Driving could also include unexpected elements, challenging the driver’s decision-making ability and vigilance. The following factors could increase crash risks for teen drivers:
- Lack of skill and experience: They might underestimate specific circumstances, endangering them and their passengers.
- Lighting and other external factors: Driving at night could be challenging for all drivers, especially teenagers.
- Distractions while driving: They could be more prone to distractions, mainly when they habitually use their mobile phones while behind the wheel.
- Speeding and other traffic violations: Teenagers might speed and fail to responsibly allow safe braking distances from vehicles in front of them.
- Potential risks posed by impairments: They might inaccurately gauge their condition after consuming medication or other substances that might cause driving impairments.
- Unintentionally overlooking specific road safety practices: Teenagers might forget proper seatbelt use and other safety habits. They might only develop these practices over time.
Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) systems could help address issues by giving teenagers more time to develop their skills with the supervision of a more experienced driver. Additionally, parents and other adults in their lives could help in various ways.
Overseeing teenage drivers
Teenagers need the freedom to practice driving and build their confidence behind the wheel. However, parents could set limits and rules, allowing them to oversee their driving without being too restricting.
In addition to these limitations, parents could help by giving them a vehicle with efficient safety features and setting an example. Modeling what responsible drivers do and how they should act behind the wheel also can teach lessons teens could take into adulthood.