Most teenagers are ecstatic the day they pass their driving test, but others should be wary. Teenagers make up the age group that has more motor vehicle accidents than any other drivers.
Most accidents occur because teens lack the experience necessary to deal effectively with all driving situations. Fortunately, parents can make a difference by helping them gain experience behind the wheel.
Risk factors for teens
According to the National Safety Council, around 50% of teenagers are in car accidents before high school graduation day, and inexperience is the main reason. They do not have adequate hours behind the wheel, and some have never experienced certain driving conditions.
There are other factors, besides inexperience, involved with teenage accidents. These include distractions, such as cell phone use; driving with other teens in the car; alcohol use; lack of seat belt use and speeding.
Parents can help improve driving experience
Although it may not seem like it, teenagers look to their parents for guidance and influence when it comes to driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, parents should practice good behaviors when driving, because teens will often model their habits. Parents should avoid phone use, eating while driving, speeding and other dangerous activities.
Parents should also introduce their teens to various driving situations to help them feel more comfortable on the road. Along with spending lots of hours in the car with the teenage driver, a parent can guide the teen through highway driving, rush hour, inclement weather and construction zones.
Every state has graduated driver licensing programs, and parents can help enforce the rules and requirements. These may include forbidding other passengers, limiting nighttime driving and banning cell phones while behind the wheel.