It is that time of the year, all across the US kiddos get ready to get back in the swing of things as school is starting. For many of you, the kids are growing up fast and the morning ride on the school bus has been replaced by them driving to school on their own. Whether it be a cell phone or other passengers in the vehicle, there are many ways for your teen be distracted while driving. Jones Brown knows the impact that a deadly vehicle accident can have on a family. With that in mind here are 10 deadly mistakes teen drivers make when they are on the road.
Before we begin we would like for you to remind your teen that driving is a privilege and responsibility that should not be taken lightly. How they drive directly impact their fellow man and that vehicle they are in charge of operating is capable of taking lives.
- Unbuckled: All drivers should use a safety belt and insist that all their passenger do the same. Approximately 2/3 of teens killed in vehicle accidents were not wearing their seat belt. Wearing a seat belt decreases your chance of being killed in a vehicle accident by 45%.
- Risk Taking: Do you remember that feeling you had as a teen? That feeling of freedom? Window down, favorite song blaring out of every speaker. Did you feel invincible? This false sense of invincibility often leads teen drivers to take risks, like speeding, driving while intoxicated, or driving distracted. While many teens have the “it will never happen to me” mindset, statistics show 6 teen die and 650 are injured EVERY DAY in America because of vehicle accidents.
- Passengers: Driving all alone is the best practice for any teen but we all know that is a hard rule to enforce. Just remind your teenage driver that fatal vehicle accident risk increases for each passenger that they have in their vehicle.
- Speeding: 1/3 teen fatalities involve speeding. Remind your teens that it is better to arrive late than not at all. Obey the speed limit at all times and any tickets for speeding will result in the loss of their driving privileges.
- Radio/iPod: While it may not be fun, studies have found its better for teen drivers to learn to drive without any distractions including music playing. Adjusting the radio is one of the most common distractions for teen drivers between ages 16 and 20.
- Cell Phone: Texts, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, today’s teens are simultaneously more connected and more disconnected than ever before. It’s no surprise that using your phone to text, take selfies, browse social media, etc. is dangerous, but did you know hands-free devices can be dangerous? Taking your hands off the wheel or your mind off the road increases the risk you will be involved in a crash. NO PHONES EVER!
- Driving While Impaired: It is important for teens (and drivers of all ages) to be aware of the fact that substances other than alcohol can affect your ability to drive safely. Driving after consuming marijuana, certain prescription medications, or recreational drugs is extremely dangerous to you and others on the road.
- Late Night Cruising: It’s more challenging for inexperienced drivers to drive at night. Teen crash rates increase significantly between 9 pm and 6 am.
- Peer Pressure: A teenager who generally makes responsible decisions may cave if pressured by peers. It is important to truly understand the risk factors and the likelihood of injury or even death.
- Overconfidence: The combination of inexperience and overconfidence can easily lead to vehicle accidents, especially when new drivers encounter unfamiliar or unexpected situations. Parents should regularly talk to their teens about safe driving practices, and monitor teen drivers – even after they get their license.
Communication is the key: The best rule to follow is to always communicate. There can never be too much communication. Talk with your teen, make sure that they understand the responsibility that comes with having a licence and operating a motor vehicle. It is a privilege to have a car and be able to drive where and when you want. Do not let them forget that fact. Good Luck and Safe Driving.