DVD players and state-of-the-art sound systems are pretty standard features in most vehicles these days, so it’s no surprise kids grow up viewing cars as mobile entertainment systems.
Consequently, the serious responsibilities of driving get lost on teen drivers when they take the wheel for the first time. In their minds, they’re operating a four-wheeled fun center, and they’re only vaguely aware of the grave consequences associated with distracted driving.
Yet, the statistics don’t fib:
- Teen drivers crash four times more often than any other age group.
- More than 4,000 teens die in car crashes every year in the United States.
- More than 450,000 teens are injured in car crashes annually.
- Driver distraction contributes to 16% of all fatal crashes for drivers younger than 20.
- Drivers under 20 have the highest proportion of distraction-related fatal crashes.
- Car crashes are the number one killer of teens in the United States.
- On average, 11 teens die daily from car crashes.
Safe Driving Tips to Follow
- Don’t submit to peer pressure and try to prove you’re daring behind the wheel by mashing the gas pedal to the floor. Speed-related crashes account for 34% of fatalities among 16 to 19 year olds. Even if you don’t crash, you risk getting ticketed and possibly losing your drivers license or learners permit.
- Don’t text or use the phone while driving. Reaching for a phone while driving increases your chances of a crash by nine times, while texting increases your chances by 23 times. Besides, most states now ban teen drivers from texting or using a mobile phone while driving. Get caught and your drivers license or drivers permit will be suspended.
- Always wear a seat belt and insist the same from passengers.
- Take a driver’s ed course, even if your state doesn’t require it. You will learn lifelong lessons on safe driving.
- Never drink and drive. In the United States, alcohol is a factor in almost half of all fatal accidents.
- Adhere to posted speed limits. The faster you drive the less time you have to react.
- Drive according to weather conditions. Rain and snow limit visibility and traction, requiring you to ease off the gas pedal.
- Don’t get overconfident just because you now own a drivers license. According to AAA it takes five years of driving experience before you become fully competent behind the wheel.
- Take an occasional online practice test to keep your driving acumen sharp.
- Limit distractions. Have music selected before getting on the road.
- Maintain focus, even when driving with friends. 80% of all crashes involve driver inattention within three seconds of impact.
What’s the best tip you’ve received for safe driving?