Teenagers nationwide look forward to the fun and freedom a driver’s license can bring. Most teens go through intense driver’s training and even have ongoing practice sessions at home. Unfortunately, far too many teen drivers still aren’t up for the challenges ahead. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), auto crashes involving teen drivers are the leading cause of teen deaths. Just over 1,900 drivers between the ages of 15 and 20 died in 2016, accounting for almost 10% of all road-related fatalities. That’s significant considering teen drivers account for barely 5% of all drivers on the road. Many of these accidents can be avoided altogether, however, by avoiding making the following common mistakes.
Ignoring the Speed Limits
Experienced drivers often take leeway with speeds and barely get away with it. Your kids notice those habits, and chances are they’re repeating them. Inexperienced drivers, however, are faced with new and often scary situations and challenges. Maintaining proper speeds and following listed limits aren’t just required laws. They’re also simple ways to keep control of the vehicle when something unexpected happens. Reducing speed increases awareness, and that can be the difference between life and death.
Overconfident or Cocky Driving
Some teens are mature and careful enough to follow the laws and quickly develop defensive driving habits. However, many teen drivers fall into typical roles based on peer pressure and social expectations, and their driving habits reflect those choices. That plastic ID card is not a trophy. Yes, the teen earned it, but he or she needs to continue proving they deserve it to avoid losing it permanently. Overconfident or cocky driving can lead to serious and dangerous consequences. Taking risks such as speeding, not wearing seatbelts, running red lights or stop signs, avoiding checking mirrors and using turn signals, and even tailgating can lead to a serious accident. It doesn’t matter how good of a driver someone is when their parents are in the car… if they drive recklessly with their friends in the car, someone’s likely to get hurt or worse.
Driving with Too Many Passengers
Long gone are the days when it was considered cute or harmless for your teen to cart all their friends in the car and go on a joy ride. More cars and teens on the road as well as more available distractions mean more risky behaviors behind the wheel. Each state has their own guidelines for proper passenger limits. Peers often encourage teen drivers to take unnecessary risks, and even one extra passenger can increase the chances of an accident by 50%. Three or more passengers increase the chances of an accident 400% more than driving alone. One parent or experienced adult driver should be the only passenger in the car with a teen driver.
There are a lot of things to look at and be aware of while driving a vehicle, and distractions are plentiful. Everyone knows the dangers of texting or playing on a cell phone while driving, but it still happens every day. Other distractions in the vehicle can include changing the radio station, applying makeup, eating or drinking, and reaching for an item while the car is moving. If the vehicle is in motion, eyes need to be on the road and everything else can wait. But even the most defensive and careful driver can still need a competent Michigan auto accident attorney. Give us a call when someone’s recklessness threatens to keep you off the road.