For high school students, getting a driver’s license is a rite of passage that brings them one crucial step closer to adulthood. For parents who desperately want to keep their young adults safe and healthy, sending a new driver out on the roads can mean sleepless nights and intense anxiety.
Crashes are a leading cause of death among new drivers, and you obviously want to do everything in your power to reduce the chances of your young adult contributing to those tragic statistics. Identifying common issues that contribute to teen crashes and talking about them with your new driver could help ensure that they always reach their destination safely.
Inexperience at the wheel
No amount of theoretical knowledge can replace the practical skill that develops with time at the wheel. Even with requirements for dozens of hours of practice driving while there is an adult in the vehicle, teenagers the first-hand experience to handle hydroplaning and inclement weather circumstances or a driver swerving into their lane inappropriately. Encouraging your teen to drive as much as possible with you in the vehicle will help reduce how much inexperience puts them at risk.
Drug or alcohol impairment
One of the top contributing factors to crash rates is intoxication. Teenagers may feel like they have to drive home after a party so that they don’t get busted for drinking or may wrongfully assume that they won’t get in trouble if they drive after abusing prescription medication. Having a zero-tolerance policy for driving while under the influence and even the household policy that your team can always call for a ride home without punishment could potentially save their life.
Lots of issues can arise on the road after dark. From animals crossing with little warning to the glare when someone with high-intensity headlights comes up over a hill approaching your teen driver, there are many factors that will increase the risk of a crash. A significant percentage of collisions involving teen drivers take place after nightfall.
Distraction by devices or passengers
Teenagers have grown up with phones in their hands and constantly connected to their circle of friends. It can be hard to disconnect, even for the 30 minutes that it takes to drive to a party. Even if your young driver knows not to handle their phone, they could wind up distracted by conversations with their passengers or their desire to sing along when everyone’s favorite song suddenly comes on the radio.
You can’t be present to micromanage every driving trip your child takes, but you can talk with them about their biggest risk factors and help them make better choices for their safety. Learning more about the top contributing factors to teen car crash risk will protect your new driver and help you achieve peace of mind.