Handing a set of car keys over to a teen driver is difficult for most parents, and for good reason. According to the United States Department of Transportation, teenage drivers regularly engage in behaviors that put them at high risk for accidents. Teens also have a higher rate of fatal accidents in the Twin Cities and throughout the United States. Here are some risk factors that teen drivers and their parents must consider.
Teenagers lack the experience necessary to be confident and skilled drivers, and this puts them at great risk on the road. One simple mistake or oversight can cause a terrible crash, and teens are more likely to make mistakes due to their lack of experience.
Loud music, other teenage passengers, pedestrians and large crowds are just some of the things that commonly distract teenage drivers. Distracted drivers have an extremely high risk of causing motor vehicle accidents, since just one small distraction can prove fatal. Limiting obvious distractions such as loud music and even limiting passengers can make teens more focused on the road.
Texting and talking on smartphones
Unfortunately, the recent popularity of smartphones causes teenage drivers to be more distracted than ever. It’s common for teenage drivers to talk, text, take pictures, watch videos and even make videos behind the wheel. These habits drastically reduce their reaction time while driving, which increases the frequency of accidents among teenagers.
Driving under the influence
Unlike using smartphones, driving under the influence has been a risk factor for teen drivers for many decades. Drug and alcohol use is even more widespread among today’s youth, putting teenagers at greater risk. Impaired individuals often feel invincible, which is why they think it’s okay to get behind the wheel.
Parents with road rage
Many teenage drivers grew up watching their parents drive aggressively, spew verbal insults, make obscene gestures and even get into altercations with other drivers. It’s normal for kids to adopt their parents’ personality traits, which is why so many teenagers have road rage. Teenagers are far more likely than adults to get distracted or get into an accident if they’re easily irritated or angered by other drivers, so it’s essential for parents to model good behavior while driving.