As your teenager heads onto the highway for the first time with their new driver’s license, you may feel mixed emotions. You’re probably proud of your teen for passing their driving test and excited for them to have this new level of freedom. In contrast, you might also feel a bit anxious about all the potential dangers they could face on the road.
Unfortunately, car accidents are one of the leading causes of death for teenagers in the United States. While many factors can contribute to teenage car accidents, some are common.
Teens are inexperienced
Teens still learn to drive and don’t have the same skills as more experienced drivers. They’re more likely to make mistakes, and they’re less likely to be able to recover from them. That’s one of the reasons why teen car accidents are so common.
According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths in the United States. In 2019, 43.1% of high school students in the United States did not always wear seat belts when riding in a vehicle driven by someone else.
Teens are still developing the ability to control their impulses and make good decisions. They’re more likely to take risks because they feel invulnerable. They often underestimate the dangers of driving.
All of these factors combine to create a perfect storm for accidents. But there are things that parents can do to help their teens stay safe on the road. Here are some tips:
- Make sure your teen is properly licensed. It’s important to get your teenager behind the wheel as early as possible, but only when he or she is ready. That’s why it’s a good idea to get them licensed as soon as they turn 16.
- The law requires a teen to have a learner’s permit for at least six months before getting a driver’s license. In the meantime, ensure he or she gets plenty of practice behind the wheel.
- Set ground rules for your teen’s driving. Establishing ground rules is important so your teen knows what is and isn’t acceptable. When you set these rules, be sure to keep them simple. Parents should avoid complicated rules that are difficult to enforce, such as “no eating while driving.”
A personal injury lawyer must be your priority
If a teen gets involved in a car accident, they should not try to handle the situation alone. Instead, find a car accident lawyer near you. A personal injury lawyer will know how to deal with insurance companies. They will also be able to negotiate with the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf.
This can help to ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages. They can help to gather evidence to support your claim. This might entail getting hold of police reports, witness accounts, and medical records. This evidence can be crucial in proving liability and damages.
Finally, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries under a no-fault insurance claim. If this is the case, it will be necessary for an attorney to gather evidence that your teen is injured in an accident.
Their decision-making skills are still developing
Though they may seem invincible, teenagers are still physically and mentally developing. This includes their decision-making skills. According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 60% of teen crashes are due to “decisions made by the driver.”
Teens are more likely to take risks, whether driving faster than the speed limit or texting while behind the wheel. They may also be more likely to underestimate potential dangers on the road. All of these factors can lead to serious accidents.
They get distracted easily
When teenagers are behind the wheel, they often think about other things besides driving. They may be talking to their passengers, texting, or even daydreaming. This can lead to them not paying attention to the road and making mistakes that can cause an accident.
Parents must talk seriously with their kids about the importance of staying focused while driving. They should also set a good example by not being distracted while behind the wheel.
They’re more likely to speed
Most people would never guess that one of the reasons teens speed is to look cool in front of their friends. But it’s true! Teens are more likely to take risks behind the wheel when trying to impress their friends.
Another reason teens might speed is because of a bet. They might think it’s funny to see how fast they can go or how close they can get to another car. But this kind of behavior is extremely dangerous and can easily lead to an accident.
If you’re the parent of a teen driver, make sure you talk to them about the dangers of speeding. Do a safety check on the car before driving. They must understand how risky it is and why they should always obey the speed limit.
They sometimes drive under the influence
Teens are known for being impulsive and sometimes reckless. This can lead to dangerous behaviors, like driving under the influence. Coming drunk from a party is one of the most common reasons teens get into car accidents. Alcohol slows down your reaction time and makes it difficult to focus on the road. This can be a recipe for disaster, especially if you’re already driving recklessly. If you’re going to drink, make sure you have a designated driver who can take you home safely.
A car is one of the most freeing experiences a teenager can have. It’s a way to get around without relying on parents or friends and opens up a new world of possibilities. But with that freedom comes responsibility. When buying your teen a car, resist the urge to do it just because all their friends have one.
It may be tempting to give in to peer pressure and try to keep up with the Joneses, but it’s not worth the risk. Let them prove they are responsible for the highway and encourage them to follow the road rules.