The day your teenager gets their driver’s license is a day of mixed emotions. You may be relieved that they can finally drive themselves to school, work and social appointments without depending on you. But you are probably also worried about the new dangers they will face behind the wheel – and rightly so. It’s important to stay informed as to the factors that cause the highest numbers of teen car crashes, so that you can instruct your teen accordingly, and set rules that will keep them safe.
Friends distracting them
Car accident statistics show that teens who drive with other teenage passengers – and without an adult in the car – are more likely to have a car accident. The higher the number of teen passengers in the car, the higher the likelihood of a crash. This is because teenage passengers are more likely to distract the driver, and the driver is more likely to drive recklessly in order to impress their friends.
This is particularly true of teenage boys. The average number of deaths from car accidents for male teenagers is more than twice the number of deaths for female teens.
Texting while driving
Sending a text message or dialing a phone number while driving increases the likelihood of a car accident by up to 23 times, even for adults. Of teenagers who have a cell phone, one in three of them admit to having texted while driving. Averting their eyes from the road for even a couple of seconds can prevent them from recognizing and reacting to rapidly changing traffic conditions in time.
While teenagers may not have precisely the same levels of prudence and responsibility as adults, they aren’t stupid. Having a reasonable conversation with your teen about threats they may face when they return to school this fall can help to decrease the likelihood of them engaging in risky behavior that could have tragic consequences.