Tips for Parents with Teen Drivers
For parents, there are few moments in life that are quite as nerve-wracking as the first time your teen gets behind the wheel of a car. Understanding the common causes of crashes and what you can do as a parent may provide a little extra comfort (but trust us, it's still nerve wracking.).
Did you know, teenage drivers have a higher crash risk per mile traveled, when compared to drivers in other age groups. Beginning teen drivers have the least driving experience and maturity. This lack of maturity can lead to risk-taking. That's why so many crashes involve only the teens' own vehicle.
The best way to avoid the risks and pitfalls awaiting new drivers is to be aware of them. That's why it's important to talk to your teen driver early and often about safe driving practices.
Tell them what to look out for, and discuss the most common characteristics of teen car crashes.
Common Causes of Crashes
According to statistics, most teen crashes can be traced back to one of two causes:
Driver error. The newest drivers have the least experience when it comes to handling on-road situations and distractions.
Speeding. Sixteen year-olds have a high rate of crashes in which excessive speed is a factor.
Ways to Improve Teen Drivers
Of course, there are other factors that greatly affect the number of teen car crashes in the US each year. It’s important to be aware of the dangers in order to promote a more safe driving experience for beginners.
Use Safety Belts. The fact is, most teens involved in car crashes aren't wearing their seat belts.
Limit Passengers. For 16 year-old drivers, car crashes are more likely to occur when passengers are riding in the vehicle. The risk is increased with the addition of each passenger.
Restrict Night-time Driving. This is considered a high-risk activity for beginners. Per mile driven, the crash rate of 16 year-olds is about twice as high at night compared with during the day.
Zero Alcohol Policy. Though this problem is by no means limited to beginning teen drivers, it is actually less of a problem for 16 year-olds. Intoxicated driving becomes more common for older teen drivers, which is why it's good to start the conversation before teens ever get behind the wheel.
Prepare for Safety
Graduated licensing is a proven tool to help combat the staggering risks faced by beginning teen drivers. Under graduated licensing, driving privileges are phased in to restrict beginners' initial experience behind the wheel to lower risk situations. The restrictions are gradually lifted, so teens are more experienced and mature when they get their full, unrestricted licenses. Graduated licensing laws have been proven to reduce teens' crash rates in the US, Canada, and New Zealand.
There are steps parents can take, even if they don't live in an area with strong graduated licensing laws.
Don't rely solely on driver education.
Know the law and enforce the restrictions on teen drivers.
Restrict night driving, especially between the hours of 9pm till midnight.
Restrict the number of passengers allowed in the vehicle.
Supervise driving practice and require safety belt use.
Choose vehicles with safety, not image, in mind.
Reaching this milestone is a right-of-passage for teens and their parents. It represents a new level of independence and autonomy. Preparing early and correctly for the day your teen driver hits the road is the key to their success, and survival (and a little peace of mind for you).
Peterson Insurance Group is a family owned and operated independent insurance agency representing multiple insurance companies located in Weaverville, NC. Founded in 2001, the company is owned by Eirene Peterson-Burnette, the successor to the founder, Stom Peterson. Together, with her team, Peterson Insurance provides exceptional, personal service guiding customers through the maze of insurance options. Visit us at 1 South Main Street Extension, Weaverville, NC 28787 or call 828-645-8777.