Mistakes That Young Teen Drivers Make
There is something about teens and cars that makes a toxic mix. Yet, no one wants to deny young drivers the freedom of the road and the right of passage of driving a car. Even so, it is worth bearing in mind that auto accidents are the most significant cause of accidental deaths in youngsters aged between 15 and 20 years old.
Teenagers tend to underestimate the dangers of the road. And young drivers are easily tempted to show off when they have friends in their car. There are ways that you can help your teens learn to drive safely. You could fit a vehicle tracker that monitors where the car is and how it is being driven, for example.
In the end, though, keeping young drivers safe on the roads will come down to education. So, to help you teach your teenage kids to understand the dangers of driving, here are the top ten mistakes that young teen drivers make.
1. Taking Too Many Risks
You could probably sum up many of the mistakes that young teen drivers make under this one heading. Even so, risk-taking is worth a mention on its own. Teenagers are far more likely to take risks while driving than most adults.
The increased willingness of young drivers to take risks can be attributed partly to a need to impress their peers. There is also that feeling of invulnerability that we all remember we had when we are young.
Whatever the underlying cause, risk-taking is one of the reasons that young drivers have more motor accidents.
Surveys have shown that teenage drivers are far more likely to drive at excessive speeds than more experienced drivers. Studies also indicate that male teenage drivers are more likely to break speed limits than young female drivers.
Excessive speed is a factor in many severe accidents involving young drivers. Why do teen drivers speed? Young drivers speed when they are showing off to friends, and they drive fast for the buzz. Sometimes young drivers drive over the speed limit because they have not yet gained that natural feel for the speed of a car that experienced drivers have.
3. Getting Distracted
More than 50% of teen drivers admit that they have talked on their phones while driving, and that’s only one of the distractions that can cause car wrecks. Young drivers are also more likely to eat and drink while driving, and they are more likely to focus on conversations with their friends.
Experienced drivers learn how to drive on autopilot, but even people who have been on the roads for many years can have accidents if they do not concentrate. So, the message to teen drivers is simple; keep both hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road!
4. Drunk Driving
There are almost 30 drunk driving fatalities every day in the United States. Of those fatalities, a staggering 42% of those fatalities were young drivers aged 16 to 24 years of age in 2017. Overall, alcohol is a contributing factor in ¼ of all teenage car accidents.
Drunk driving is illegal. We all know that. But, while drunk driving has become socially unacceptable amongst older people in recent years, the same is not so true among teenagers. The lower aversion to risk-taking that teens have makes them more likely to believe that they will get away with drink driving. Unfortunately, a young driver’s inexperience behind the wheel also increases the dangers of drunk driving.
5. Not Wearing a Seatbelt
Not wearing a seatbelt is also a common mistake that young teen drivers make, even though the wearing of seatbelts is mandatory in many states. Sometimes youngsters do not buckle up because they forget. Sometimes, though, they believe that nothing will happen on a short trip. The fact that fines for not wearing a belt are low in some states could also be a contributing factor.
The reality is that the wearing of seat belts saves lives. So, teens should be encouraged to wear seat belts whenever they drive. And youngsters should be taught that its Ok to refuse their friends a ride if they are not willing to buckle up.
6. Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving is most commonly a problem in young male drivers. Driving aggressively includes things like tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, speeding, and passing on the shoulder. And, of course, aggressive driving also includes giving other drivers the bird, honking unnecessary, and being a generally obnoxious road user. Yes, we have all come across them!
Aggressive driving can lead to an accident or a ticket. If a teen’s aggressive driving annoys the wrong type of person, they might also find themselves on the receiving end of a road rage incident. So, young drivers must be patient and follow the rules of the road. Even so, 30 % of teen drivers admit to having driven aggressively. Fortunately for us all, that aggression tails off with age – only 9% of drivers over the age of 50 own up to driving aggressively.
The first year of driving can be scary, and you cannot always anticipate what other drivers are going to do. The inexperience of young drivers means that they are more likely to panic when faced with an unexpected situation on the road. And, when people panic, they make bad decisions, or they do not react at all.
Most drivers will get used to driving quickly and become less likely to panic. It does take time, though, to develop a road sense. The critical thing here is that if a teen driver has a bad experience while driving, they must not give up; they must get back on the horse and practice some more.
8. Taking Too Many Passengers in the Car
The more people in a car, the more likely it is that a teen driver will have an accident. There are several reasons why the number of passengers increases the risk of an accident.
Firstly, if the car is packed full of youngster’s friends, the driver may get distracted. The extra weight in the vehicle will also make it more challenging to handle. And a car full of friends will make a teen driver more reckless and more likely to show off.
Teen drivers should be encouraged to go solo for a while they get used to driving. And then young drivers should only drive with one or two friends in the car with them. Crucially, drivers should be made aware of how dangerous it is to mare more passengers in a vehicle than it is designed to carry.
9. Driving When Tired
People driving when they are tired is responsible for approximately 1,500 deaths on the roads every year. When you combine exhaustion with a lack of experience, the dangers of driving when tired are multiplied many times.
Teen drivers should know that they must never drive if they feel tired or unwell. Young drivers should be encouraged to get a cab or phone home for a ride if they do not think that they can drive safely for any reason at all. It might be inconvenient to go out to pick up your kids when they do not want to drive, but it will be a lot better than being called out to the scene of an accident.
10. Lack of Maintenance and Safety Checks
Young drivers are often on very tight budgets. The lack of money and the lack of knowledge about car maintenance often leads to teens’ cars not being appropriately maintained. Teen drivers should be taught how to check things like the state of their tires, and the coolant and oil levels. And teens must not ignore the warning lights on their vehicles.
Completing essential car maintenance does not take long, and it will save money and save getting stranded somewhere. Regular maintenance and safety checks will also make the vehicle safer to drive.
Many thanks for checking out these top 10 mistakes that young teen drivers make. We hope that it helps you or your teen kids drive safer. We will be publishing more driving and teen safety tips soon. If you would like to keep up to date with what we have on Best Panic Alarm, please subscribe to our mailing list.
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