Without a doubt, the new-found freedom of being able to drive is one of the greatest feelings in the world for a teenager. The privilege of being trusted to drive alone anywhere, anytime is a sign of adulthood and burgeoning independence in a young person. Sadly, teens who aren’t adequately prepared for the challenges of the road face serious risks.
According to the social engagement website Dosomething.org:
“16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age,” and, “33% of deaths among 13 to 19-year-olds in 2010 occurred in motor vehicle crashes.”
If you’re a teenager or the parent of one, this should be sobering news.
Driving can be dangerous for teens, but it doesn’t have to be. We’ve put together a list of five teen driving safety tips that will help teenagers be safer drivers:
1. Turn Off Your Phone
Let’s be frank: Distracted driving kills.
According to Distraction.gov, the US government’s website dedicated to spreading awareness about distracted driving, 3,179 people were killed, and 431,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers in 2014, alone.
The rise in smartphone usage is largely behind these statistics. Turning off your cell phone before you hop in the driver’s seat is an action that could possibly save you or someone else’s life. No text, status update, or phone call is worth risking your life. If you’re just learning how to drive, it means that you haven’t been able to form any bad driving habits. Committing to always leaving cell phones off while driving now will set you up for decades of safe driving later.
2. Don’t Drive with Your Friends (For a While)
This might be hard advice for some teenagers, but it’s a proven fact that teen drivers in cars with other teenaged passengers are much more likely to get into accidents.
From a recently published Time Magazine article:
“Researchers analyzed a nationally representative sample of 677 teen drivers involved in serious crashes. They compared the likelihood of driver distraction and risk-taking just before the crash, when teens were driving with additional passengers, and when they were solo. Both male and female drivers were more likely to be distracted before a crash if they were accompanied by passengers. Of those drivers who reported being distracted by activity inside their car before a crash, 71% of males and 47% of females said they were distracted directly by their passengers. When compared with males driving alone, males with passengers were almost six times more likely to perform an illegal maneuver and more than twice as likely to drive aggressively before a crash. Overall, females rarely drove aggressively prior to a crash.”
Obviously, teens will eventually gain the driving experience they need to be able to drive with passengers safely, but driving with passengers too soon leaves them at a much higher risk.
3. Never Drink and Drive
This goes without saying, but drinking and getting behind the wheel leaves drivers of any age at huge risk for accidents and injury. Teens are especially susceptible due to their lack of driving experience and age. Parents should make a concerted effort to let their teens know that they can be called at any time for a ride if their teens have consumed alcohol at a party. This might be a difficult task for parents, but it’s a parenting policy that could save lives. Fostering a safe line of communication between teens and their parents is paramount when it comes to a situation like preventing a young person drinking and driving.
4. Cut Out Distractions
Loud music, eating, and applying makeup while driving are all dangerous activities. When an inexperienced teenager gets behind the wheel, they have one job to do: drive safely. Keeping the distractions out of the car will help teenaged drivers to focus on the task at hand. Driving is difficult enough for young drivers, so focusing is especially important.
5. Get Proper Teen Driving Safety Training
Driving is by far the most dangerous thing we do every day, and yet millions of young drivers hit the road every year without professional training. Taking the time to receive proper instruction prepares teenagers for the myriad of challenges they’ll face on the road. Mile High Driver Training’s teen driving safety courses give teens the combination of driving experience and instruction they’ll need to become safe, responsible drivers. Mile High Driver Training has served as your locally owned and operated driving school in the Denver Metro area for the past decade and have trained thousands of students of all ages how to drive.