Did you know that car accidents are the leading cause of death for 14-18 year olds? Teenagers learning to drive are at the highest risk for being involved in car accidents. During the month of October, we celebrate Teen Driver Safety Week, which was created to bring awareness to the dangers that face teens on the road and help create a conversation every parent should have with teenagers who are learning to share the road and drive independently.
Here are our top 3 dangers facing teen drivers today:
The most important message that parents should address with their adolescent drivers before they hit the open road is putting the cell phones down. Today, with the popularity of social media and constant access to communication, it is difficult for teens to take their eyes off their phones and focus on the road, but there is no place for Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter when driving.
Texting and driving is the leading cause of car accidents in the U.S. and has claimed a staggering number of lives (3,000 each year). Texting while driving makes a crash 23x more likely to occur, which accounts for more than 1.3 million accidents per year. Make sure when you talk to your teen drivers about road safety, you immediately address the need to put the phone away.
Creating a contract for your young divers to sign is a creative way of ensuring they leave their phones alone in the car. There are also new anti-texting apps you can download on your young driver’s phone to disable texting during their time behind the wheel. For more information on how to prevent texting and driving visit http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/distracted_driving/.
Many states across the country have initiated laws that prevent new drivers from having other passengers in the car outside of their immediate family. If your teen driver is allowed to drive other passengers, there are a few basic rules they must follow before they even start the car.
- Make sure that everyone is seated in a seat with working seatbelt.
- Everyone must be wearing a seatbelt before you start driving. Wearing a seatbelt greatly decreases the risk of injury if you do happen to be involved in an accident.
- Do not squeeze more people in your car than there are seats. Driving with numerous passengers can be extremely distracting and may impair your ability to drive safely.
- Make sure passengers are allowing you to focus on the road. If they are not, arrange other rides so that everyone can reach their destination safely.
Driving to school can be the most dangerous time to be behind the wheel. People are always in a rush, rarely paying attention, and the parking lots are crowded. Here are a few ways to keep you and your car safe when navigating heavily trafficked areas.
- Arrive to school 5-10 minutes early and leave late so that you miss the mad dash to enter or leave the parking lot.
- Always give school buses the right of way. They are much larger than you and may not be able to see as well as. Don’t pass them unless you have ample room, they are carrying numerous passengers and need a lot of space to maneuver safely.
- There is nothing wrong with parking at the bottom of the lot if there is heavy traffic near the spots closer to school. Park at the bottom and walk. It is not worth getting into a fender-bender trying to sneak into a spot that someone else wants.
- Follow the traffic patterns outlined by the school. Make sure you are familiar with them before driving to school. They are made to keep drivers safe.
- Do not speed in the parking lots; it will only increase your chance of causing an accident. Driving slower allows you to have a better reaction time to other drivers in the parking lot.
To learn more teen driving tips you can visit these websites: