Parents of teenage drivers will have some anxiety about letting their teens drive freely after getting their license. Even if you know that your teen has excellent driving skills and are confident that they have the common sense to avoid any possible danger, remember that there are others on the road, whose actions none of us can control. You do not want to be lulled into that false sense of security.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number one threat to teens’ safety is either driving or riding in a car with another teenage driver. The CDC reports that each year, over 2,000 teens are killed in car crashes in the United States – amounting to six teens per day.
What is the main cause? Here are some examples:
- Drunk driving
- Texting while driving
- Reckless driving
While these are common issues, it still remains the case that driver inexperience continues to be the source of major accidents. The statistics further show that teens are more likely to be involved in a fatal crash because of lack of driving experience and taking the right precautionary measures. Even if a teenage driver obeys the traffic laws, it does not mean that they know how to handle debris on the roadway, construction, a pedestrian darting in the road, or another unexpected surprise.
Now that you know the danger of driver inexperience, you want to make sure that your teen understands that it’s the leading cause of teen crashes.
Tips for Educating Your Teen Driver
Parents are the key to educating teens about driving safety, so here is what you can do to help protect your teen and others who share the road with him or her:
- Supervise your teen behind the wheel for 30 to 50 hours over a six-month period before they drive alone.
- Make sure that your teen practices on different types of roads, day and night, and in different weather conditions (with you).
- Stress the importance of not texting while driving or using their cellphone.
- Teach your teen not to ride with friends who have been drinking.
- Make sure your teen always wears their seat belt, no exceptions.
The crash risk for teens is at its highest in the first year after the teen receives their driver’s license, and the risk of crash increases when teens drive with other teenagers in their car. It may be worth your while to keep this in mind the next time your teenager asks for the keys to the car.