Car crashes are still the leading cause of death for United States teenagers. According to the National Highway Safety Administration, teens take a different approach to driving. They are more likely to take risks on the road that might jeopardize their safety as well as the safety of other drivers.
“Inexperience and immaturity combined with speed, drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts, distracted driving – cell phone use, loud music, other teen passengers – drowsy driving, night time driving and other drug use aggravates this problem,” states the NHSA.
Driver’s license programs are available to teens across the country. These programs have shown to lower the teen accident risk by 20-50 percent.
The following are a few tips for parents of new drivers:
- Choose one parent to “coach” the driver. Usually one parent is more comfortable and calm driving with their teen than the other. If tensions rise while your teen is behind the wheel, this could affect their driving performance.
- Practice time should be kept short, and it should focus on certain skills. The recommended time is 20-30 minutes.
- Start small. Begin practicing in parking lots as your teen gets comfortable operating a vehicle. Then move to residential streets before entering places with more traffic.
- Become familiar with the vehicle before driving.
- Keep your eyes on the road. To avoid emergency braking or steering, the NHTSA recommends looking at least a quarter-mile ahead in rural areas, two blocks or traffic lights in urban areas, and three in suburban.
- Be decisive. According to experts, new drivers are often unsure of when to stop at an intersection. Their indecision can lead to mistakes, and can be confusing for other drivers.
- Eliminate distractions. Those include cell phones, music, food and passengers.
- Slow down when it comes to curves. To avoid skidding or spinning, reduce your speed. If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, such as a lot of rain or snow, make sure the teen practices driving in a parking lot in those conditions.
As a Los Angeles car accident attorney, I hope you keep these tips in mind. My experience as a personal injury attorney has shown me that teens can become easily distracted in driving situations. If you have a teen driver, please emphasize to them the serious nature of driving.