Teen driving safety is an extremely important topic to discuss with your teenager when he or she is about to reach driving age. Besides the obvious advice to follow all traffic rules and to not drive distracted, there are other important steps to take when it comes to safe driving for your teen.
Here are two extremely scary facts about teen drivers from the CDC.
“In 2015, 2,333 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 221,313 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes in 2014.1 That means that six teens ages 16–19 died every day from motor vehicle injuries.”
“In 2013, young people ages 15-19 represented only 7% of the U.S. population. However, they accounted for 11% ($10 billion) of the total costs of motor vehicle injuries.”
Of course, teen driver deaths are completely preventable. Many of them stem from simply building driving skills and practicing some good habits. These are the things that you need to discuss with your teen to ensure their driving safety.
Who Can Ride With Your Teen?
Each state has somewhat different laws when it comes to teen driving. Some are stricter than others on who they can have in the car as passengers. Most states do not allow teen drivers to have passengers under 18 until a certain amount of time has passed or the driver has reached a certain age. Having other teen passengers has been found to be a distraction to inexperienced drivers and has been a major factor in accidents.
Building Real Life Experience on the Road
Not everything you need to know about driving in the real world will appear on a permit test or even during a driver’s license exam. Really, the only way to become a better driver is to simply drive. One of the major risk factors in teen driving accidents stem from not being able to make the split-second decisions that older, more experienced drivers can make without really thinking about them.
This is why many states require parent or guardian supervision before teens can even take their driver’s license test. Make sure that you spend lots of time with your teen when they are driving, or be sure that they have an experienced driver who can tutor them in the unwritten rules of the road. You’ll also be able to curb risky behaviors, such as following other drivers too closely from behind, before they become a major issue later.
Wear Your Seat Belt!
This probably won’t come as much of a surprise, but you can just about double your teen’s chances of surviving a car crash if he or she is wearing a seatbelt. A study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in 2014 that 53% of teens ages 16 to 19 who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2014 weren’t wearing a seatbelt! Really, seatbelts save a lot of lives, but it’s especially true for teens! That’s a lot of lives that can be saved with just a simple seat belt.
Along with the obvious things such as not being on electronic devices while driving, or of course, not drinking and driving, these are the best ways to greatly increase your teen’s driving safety.