Every time a teenager gets behind the wheel, there is an increased chance of an accident. Teens present the highest risk compared to drivers in all other age groups.
While states help combat this risk by requiring graduated driver licensing programs, parents also play a big role in keeping their teens and other drivers safe.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, 8% of teenagers are victims of fatal motor vehicle accidents, and this amounts to an average of six deaths per day. Almost half of these victims were not wearing seatbelts, and 24% of them had some alcohol in their system.
Along with those risk factors, the fact that teens lack the necessary driving experience is a main cause of accidents. Graduated driver licensing programs help teens gradually gain experience by limiting high-risk conditions such as having passengers in car and nighttime driving.
Parents can help
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are many things parents can do to improve a teen’s driving skills. One is to help them learn. Driver’s education classes are a good start, but parents should also involve themselves in their teenager’s driving. This includes driving with them in regular driving situations and guiding them through more challenging conditions. These may be rush hour, driving in the rain or snow, construction zones, driving in the dark and highway driving.
Distracted driving is a risk factor for all drivers, but especially teens. Parents should set a good example by ditching the phone and other distracting behaviors while driving.
Another helpful tool is to make a driving agreement that sets rules and consequences for when the teen is driving. Some rules may include no other teens in the car, no phone use, no drinking and limits on nighttime and weekend driving.