The first time a new driver gets behind the wheel, they are excited. They know this is the first step towards freedom. However, many teen drivers are also overconfident about their driving abilities. Combine this with speeding and you have a recipe for an accident.
Teen driving statistics
Illinois-based Spring Fields Public Schools released a teen driving fact sheet in 2013. This fact sheet stated that motor vehicle crashes is the top cause of death among teens in the United States. The fatality rate for teen drivers ages 16 to 19 is four times that of drivers ages 25 to 69-years-old. To add to that, approximately two-thirds of teen passenger deaths, involved those ages 13 to 19, occurred when another teenager was driving.
What you should do before letting your teen drive
If you're thinking about buying a car for your new driver, make sure to weigh your options. You may want a car that is inexpensive, but you will still want a safe car for your new driver. Along with getting your teen a car, always remind your teen to drive safely. You can also show them how to safely drive by being a good driver yourself. You will also want to go over driving with passenger rules. Your teen needs to know that their friends may try to get them to do something dangerous. If that happens, your teen needs to know not to give into peer pressure. No dare or trick is worth someone's life. When your teen is educated on the risks associated with driving, they will know how to be safe on the road.
Almost half of teens surveyed for the SPS study admitted to encouraging their teen driver to speed. If your teen is fully aware of the dangers of driving over the speed limit, chances are they will not give in to their friends’ invitation. Your teen may know the basics of driving, but their skills may still need a lot of development. Teens, after all, still are developing the ability to accurately judge location, distance and speed. They still have troubles determining:
- Speed of oncoming cars
- Speed needed to enter traffic
- Speed of traffic ahead – how fast they are speeding up or slowing down
- Turning ratios
- Location of their vehicle in a turn lane
- Distance from other cars in the turn
- Distance to other cars, curbs or lines on the road
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I encourage parents to set a good example for their teen drivers. It’s okay to teach them how to drive once they hit the legal age since you are around as their passenger. They are also likely to drive responsibly. However, have your teen driver wait until they have some experience driving before they drive with other kids and teens in the car. Also, limit your teen's night time driving. More than 40% of teen auto deaths occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. Being responsible and knowing the dangers are critical, especially at night. Please always be careful and drive safe.