Every parent does their best to prepare their teen driver for the road. Unfortunately, there is no replacement for years of experience behind the wheel. As your teen becomes more comfortable as a driver, it is increasingly important that they avoid these dangerous behaviors.
While any driver is susceptible to the dangers of driving, new drivers often do not have the driving experience (or life experience) necessary to stay safe if they take these risks.
Driving under the influence
Although studies have shown a reduction in the percentage of young drivers who drink and drive, teens still have a higher crash risk than experienced adults when they drive after consuming alcohol.
Accidents that occur as a result of impaired driving often happen later in the day or at night. For this reason, Texas places a restriction on teens driving after midnight to help reduce the hazards of:
- Drinking and driving: Under Texas' zero tolerance policy, even if a minor is not intoxicated, any detectable amount of alcohol in their system is a criminal offense.
- Drowsiness: Just like alcohol, sleepiness can be fatal when driving. According to the National Safety Council, sleep deprivation can impair reaction time, judgment and vision. This hazard is especially dangerous for teens that do not get enough sleep.
Driving while distracted
Most parents are already aware that Texas law prohibits teens from using their cell phone while operating a vehicle. While cell phones are often the biggest focus of distracted driving conversations, there are other distractions in the car. For example, having teenager passengers increases the risk of having an accident.
In fact, anything that takes a driver's mind off the road is a hazard, such as eating or reaching for something (like a ringing cell phone). It's important for teens and parents to safeguard against the dangers that young drivers face. Parents can help their children stay safe by setting a good example and by talking to their teens about making the right choices in the driver's seat.