Driving is a rite of passage for many young people. It means both increased freedom and increased responsibility. Though it is often a natural part of growing up, there are many associated risks for less-experienced drivers.
Most teens understand why safe driving habits are important, but that doesn’t mean they always follow them. If you have a young driver in your Texas household, there are several common driving hazards you may want to address with him or her. Fortunately, there are also ways to reduce the chance of motor vehicle accidents and keep your teen safe.
Do you know about these risks to teen drivers?
Teen parents know the types of dangers their teens may face, though there are some aspects they may not consider. For example, most parents and teens know the dangers of impaired driving. One study found that a fifth of teen drivers in fatal crashes were intoxicated. Speeding is another common risk that factored into nearly a third of fatal teen crashes in one analysis. Seatbelt use could have prevented some of these deaths, but studies show that teen drivers have the lowest rate of seatbelt usage.
While those factors may seem obvious to parents, there are other risks they may overlook. As cellphone use increases, so do rates of distracted driving, with a third of all teens in one survey admitting they have texted while driving. Also, just because your teens are young, they are still susceptible to drowsy driving, with teens involved in about 10% of fatal drowsy driving accidents. Even having their friends in the car is still a risk, as having passengers makes a teen more likely to use unsafe driving habits.
How to keep your teen safe on the road
The good news is that there are things you can do to help encourage your teen to drive safely. You might not believe it, but your own driving habits influence your teen more than you think, so be sure to practice safe driving at all times. You can also ensure that your teen receives proper driver’s education training. Finally, be sure you and your teen both understand state laws around Graduated Driver Licensing, which specifies driving privileges according to age and driving experience.
Even all of this information may not be enough to keep you and your teen driver safe behind the wheel. You or your teen could potentially get into a crash with another young, inexperienced driver. In these situations, it is imperative to hold responsible parties accountable when motor vehicle accidents happen, no matter the age of the driver.