Grimes & Fertitta, P.C.

Teen drivers are a risk, but parents can help prevent crashes

Teenagers may be new to driving, but that doesn't mean they can't develop the skills necessary to stay safe when they are on the roads. It is important for teenagers to understand that those between 16 and 19 are more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than adults. In fact, fatal crashes involving teens happen around four times more often than crashes involving those between the ages of 25 and 69.

Statistics show that there are three main errors that teenagers make before they get into collisions. The first is failing to scan the road for hazards. The second is speeding or driving too fast for the conditions of the roadway. The third is getting distracted and not paying attention to the roadway.

What can parents do to help their kids be safer behind the wheel?

To start with, it is important that you talk to your teen about the reality of teen crashes. Teenagers are old enough to understand that their actions will have consequences. Explain why being distracted is dangerous, why not getting enough sleep can make it more likely to get into a crash and why it is always important to look both ways before entering an intersection, even if you have the right of way.

What are the most common causes of teenage crashes?

Newly licensed teen drivers often crash because of rear-ending others, driving off the roadway and not monitoring the roadways for incoming traffic before making a left-hand turn.

New drivers have poor scanning skills. They are less likely to see oncoming traffic or be able to tell the speed of oncoming traffic. The scanning skills teens need will develop in time but parents can help by making sure they ride with their teens regularly and remind them about what to look for. Good training behind the wheel makes a substantial difference.

For teenagers, it's important to get enough time practicing driving with parents and others who have good driving skills. If they fail the initial driving test, parents should make sure they're enrolled in a driving school a second time or that they get additional practice before scheduling another trial.

A teen driver may be new to the roads and inexperience can lead to serious harm to themselves or other. Take driving seriously, and make sure any teen you know understands the risks of their behaviors when they're behind the wheel.

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