Teens are excited to get their licenses and to explore their newfound freedoms of being able to drive themselves wherever they please. Teens often overlook the dangers associated with driving, underestimating the possibility for harm and the power of a moving vehicle. Statistically, car crashes are the leading cause of death among teenagers. There are many reasons why teenagers are so much more at risk and many times it is because of a variety of reason that they find themselves in a serious accident or worse.
According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, inexperience behind the wheel is the leading cause of teenage crashes. Teenagers may be able to dispute other reasons for not being a good driver but there is something undeniably clear about inexperience. The fact of the matter is that we all get better at the things that we do through time. Teenagers simply have not had the kind of experience behind that wheel that would enable them to make split-second decisions and to act appropriately. It is not to say that they could not answer correctly how a hypothetical situation should be handled rather it is simply a matter of not having developed the second nature instincts that are necessary in many situations on order to get you and your vehicle out of harm’s way.
Another leading cause of unsafe teen driving is distractions. Distractions come in many different forms. Sometimes a teen can become distracted while singing their favorite song or maybe by changing stations on the radio. Some teens fall victim to distractions due to wireless devices such as cell phones. In fact, studies have shown that a driver’s response time when using the phone and while legally intoxicated is about the same. Although you may think that you have the situation under control while you are calling and talking to people while driving, it is difficult to argue with the findings.
Teens are also distracted and highly influenced by other passengers in the car, especially if those other passengers are also teenagers. Risks to driver and passenger safety increase as the number of passengers in the car increases. Experts caution parents to be mindful of the increased risk that allowing your teen to drive with other teens presents not only to the one driving but also to every passenger. Distractions are so much a cause of unsafe teen driving that more than any age group teens are likely to be involved in a single vehicle crash. This means being involved in an accident where you hit a pole or run into a fence when there was an absence of influence from any other drivers on the road.
Of course one of the simplest precautions that teens should be taken is the one thing that could save so many of their lives. Statistically, nearly two-thirds of the young people who die in car crashes are not wearing seat belts. Not buckling your safety belt is foolish, yet so many teens neglect to do so. Some teens believe that buckling a seat belt is some how associated with succumbing to the influences of authority, and to not buckle up will somehow make them appear more exciting, dangerous, and one who lives on the edge. To adults these reasons make no sense. As parents of teenagers it is your responsibility to teach your children these causes of unsafe driving so that your children can not only protect themselves the next time they get on the road, but so that they can protect the lives of their passengers as well. Simply knowing the causes of unsafe driving will do nothing. You must act upon them and make a change.