Help Protect Your Teen Driver This Summer

Written by Jeremy D. Earle, JD

August 13, 2022

How do I make my Teenager a Better Driver?

Summer is approaching, and your adolescent is probably looking forward to spending time with friends and enjoying the nice weather. If your teen is a new driver, he or she is undoubtedly anticipating new experiences behind the wheel. While we all look forward to this rite of passage for our children, many of us are concerned, and rightly so, teen driving is dangerous.

According to Teen Driver Source, the risk of being involved in a car accident is higher for 16 to 19-year-old drivers than for any other age group. Car accidents are the leading cause of death and disability among teenagers. We’ll go over some things you can do to help protect your teen driver this summer.

WAIT TO BUY A CAR FOR YOUR TEEN.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, newly licensed teens are more likely to speed in their own car than in the family car, according to a recent study.

Speeding is one of the leading causes of car accidents, owing to the loss of car control and increased stopping distance associated with speeding. Allow your teen to drive your car if possible, and wait until he or she has more experience behind the wheel before purchasing a car for him or her. This precaution may protect both your teen driver and other drivers on the road during the summer months.

However, sharing the family car with teen drivers isn’t always practical for a variety of reasons. If they need a car, Edmunds offers some advice on how to choose a safe car:

Look into the crash test rating of the car you’re thinking about buying. Cars that performed well in front, side, rollover, and rear crash tests are the top safety picks.

Stay away from large cars, such as pickup trucks, vans, and SUVs, as they can be difficult to maneuver for inexperienced drivers. Furthermore, because these cars have a higher center of gravity, they are more likely to roll over. Smaller SUVs are frequently a good option, as long as they are new enough to have electronic stability control.

While excessively large cars should be avoided, excessively small cars should be avoided as well, as they provide less protection and generally perform poorly in crash tests.

Mid-sized sedans are the best choice for teenagers because they are large enough to protect occupants in a crash but not so large that they are difficult to maneuver.

Avoid a V6 engine for your teen’s first car because it tempts drivers with more horsepower than they need. A four-cylinder engine will limit your teen’s acceleration, making it less likely that he or she will speed.

 

While it may be tempting to buy your teen a cheap, older model car, experts advise against it. Many crash-avoidance and safety features are available in newer models, including collision warning with automatic braking, lane departure warning, and blind zone detection.

The ability for parents to block incoming text messages while a car is in motion is available in some of the newest cars.

If a newer model car is out of your price range, look into used luxury models. Luxury cars frequently perform well in crash tests and come equipped with the most important safety features. In the end, car size, crash test ratings, and safety features matter more than a car’s age.

Teens should be reminded to drive as if they own the car rather than the road.

BEFORE THEY EVEN LEAVE THE DRIVEWAY, THEY MUST FIRST ENSURE THEIR SAFETY.

According to TeenDriving.com, whether your teen is about to set out on a day of fun in the sun in the family car or the mid-size sedan you purchased for him or her, you should make sure that the car is properly inspected before setting out on any trip. For your teen, these checks should be regular and routine.

Always keep an eye on the gas gauge. Running out of gas on the freeway, or even in a residential area, can put you in a variety of dangerous situations, ranging from being hit by another car on the side of the road to becoming stranded and having to rely on strangers for assistance. Make it a habit to check the gas gauge before leaving the house and to not drive less than a quarter of a tank before refueling.

The tire pressure in the car should be checked on a regular basis, and teens should be able to do so on their own, as well as check the oil and make sure the wiper fluid is in the car.

Before leaving the driveway, clean the windshield to avoid temporary blindness caused by the sun reflecting off a dirty windshield.

The headrest should be placed behind your teen’s head, not around his or her neck. If a teen is involved in an accident, this will help to protect them from whiplash.

Teens should never drive without first buckling up, and they should insist on their passengers doing the same. The number of passengers in a car should never exceed the number of seat belts.

Your teen should be able to place his or her hands on the steering wheel in the proper positions. Experts now recommend placing your hands at 3 and 9 o’clock or 4 and 8 o’clock, rather than 10 and 2 o’clock. The main reason for this change is that if a driver’s hands are placed too high on the steering wheel, airbag deployment can cause

 

a driver’s hands to stroke his or her face at a high rate of speed in the event of a car accident.

Learn about the three main causes of teen accidents and talk about them.

The driver of a Teenager According to one source, critical errors are the cause of 75% of all serious teen crashes. The following are the three most common errors, which account for roughly half of all crashes:

A SCARCITY OF SCANNING. Lack of scanning is involved in 21% of serious crashes caused by a critical teen driver error. According to studies, newly licensed teens have trouble anticipating when and where potential traffic and driving hazards will occur. As a result, they fail to maintain a safe speed or position their car to avoid these dangers. Cars in adjacent lanes may suddenly pull in front of teen drivers, pedestrians who are partially hidden until they appear suddenly in the crosswalk, another car running a red light, or even a pothole are all potential hazards. What is frequently misinterpreted as a teen’s lack of attention is actually the need for extra time to master complex skills like scanning. Researchers are currently developing programs to assist teens in mastering these skills prior to licensure, and parents are encouraged to accompany their newly licensed teens to ensure that they remember and practice these skills. Remind your teen that they should never assume they know what another driver is going to do and that they should never pull out in front of someone or swerve into another lane.

DRIVING TOO QUICKLY FOR THE CONDITIONS. Speeding is

responsible for 21% of fatal crashes involving a critical teen driving error. Speeding is defined as exceeding the posted speed limit as well as exceeding the speed limit for the circumstances—including traffic, weather, visibility, and other hazards such as rough road surfaces. Telling your teen to slow down isn’t always enough to help them learn to drive safely. Explain when it’s time to ease up on the gas pedal to slow down when approaching an intersection to help your teen learn how to use the brake and accelerator properly during practice drives. You can also explain collision energy’s importance. When a car travels 40 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone, the collision energy increases by 78 percent, implying that an accident at that speed would have nearly twice the force of one at 30 miles per hour.

DISTRACTIONS. In 58 percent of crashes involving teenagers aged 16 to 19, distraction is a major factor. Distracted driving makes it difficult to react to hazards on the road, especially for teenagers. Texting, chatting with passengers in the car, changing the radio, eating, and even applying makeup are all common teen distractions. Teen drivers should avoid racing other teen drivers because it is not only distracting but it also increases the risk of an accident due to high speeds and improper passing. According to a recent survey, 50 percent of respondents aged 16 to 19 admitted to texting while driving. Modeling good driving behavior, such as never using a cell phone while driving, whether handheld or hands-free, is one way you can

 

help protect your teen from the dangers of distracted driving. Parents should also think about limiting the number of passengers their teens can have in the car at any given time. When a teen is driving, having two or more passengers in the car triples the risk of a fatal crash.

THE BEST TIME ISN’T AT NIGHT.

According to Teen Driver Source, only 14 percent of driving by 16 and 17-year-olds occurs between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. 32 percent of fatal teen crashes occur during this time period. Because darkness reduces visibility, there is less time to react to road signs, approaching curves, a car swerving into your lane of traffic or other hazards. Parents should give their teenagers plenty of supervised night driving practice before allowing them to drive alone in the dark. Teen drivers should also be restricted to driving only before 9 p.m. for the first six months to a year after receiving their license, as the time period from 9 p.m. to midnight is when the majority of fatal crashes involving teen drivers occur. Nighttime trips and routes should also be planned ahead of time, taking into account that the new driver may be drowsy while driving and should take a well-lit route.

Teen drivers are also at risk from drowsiness. Teens should be reminded of the signs of drowsiness, which include:

Excessive yawning

Having trouble keeping your eyes open

Being unable to remember the previous few minutes or seconds Driving over the rumble strips more than once

Experiencing head or body jerks from falling asleep An inability to concentrate.

If your teen displays any of the symptoms listed above, he or she should be aware of the following:

Pull over to the side of the road and into a secure parking spot.

Make a pit stop and lock the doors for a 20-45 minute nap. Get a drink of water or use the restroom.

Sit up straight, and if you have a passenger, talk to them to keep yourself awake. Turn up the volume on your music and sing along.

Roll down your windows or blast the air conditioner in your face.

While learning to drive is a thrilling experience for teenagers, it is also something that must be taken seriously for their own safety and the safety of others in the car and on the road.

Supervision, limits, and patient guidance will help your teen become a safe drivers throughout their lives, not just when they’re teenagers.

IF YOUR TEEN HAS BEEN INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT, PLEASE CONTACT US.

If you were hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you should find out if you are entitled to compensation for your injuries. Allow an attorney to handle the legal details of your case while you focus on recovering from your injuries. Personal injury cases are often complex and lengthy. One of our knowledgeable car accident lawyers can assist you in determining your legal options. Contact Warrior Car Accident Lawyers online or call 719-300-1100 to schedule a free consultation and case review with one of our attorneys. In Colorado Springs, St. Petersburg, Colorado Springs, and Colorado Springs, we have offices.

Warrior Personal Injury Lawyers
1902 W. Colorado Ave., Ste. 100
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
719-300-1100

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