If you are the parent of a teen, you have probably gone out of your way a few (or a thousand) times to lower any risk of danger. Most parents will do just about anything if it will protect their kids from harm as they grow up and learn limits. Teaching your teen how to drive and how to drive defensivelyshould be no different for any parent.
How Can I Keep My Teen Driver Safe?
There are so many disastrous ways that an accident can result when a driver is not experienced or untrained. Crashes are still one of the top causes of death among teens in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA.
With crashes posing such a deadly threat, we encourage you to talk to new drivers about these common causes of teen accidents:
Distracted Driving With Teen Drivers
Whether it’s from texting, applying makeup, eating, drinking coffee, or changing the radio station in the car, drivers with years of experience get into terrible car accidents from distracted driving, especially at higher speeds. Imagine what could be the result from a young driver doing this kind of multitasking when they are just learning to drive.
Studies have shown that even typing in a phone number while driving increases a young adult’s chance of crashing by 6 times. Texting while driving increases the risk of an accident by 23 times. These are not small numbers when you consider that an accident can result in injury or even death.
Teen Passengers in the Car
Unfortunately, a teen’s lack of experience with driving can make them more likely to be distracted by other people in the car. Passengers can take a driver’s attention away from the road by talking, changing the music, or engaging in activities that could make a crash more likely to happen.
Research has shown that teens are 3 times more likely to participate in risky behaviors when they have multiple passengers, as opposed to when they are alone. You can set a ground rule with a new driver to start with no passengers whatsoever, then work up to a certain number of passengers to be in the car as they get better at focusing on the road without distraction.
Teen Drunk or Drugged Driving
Any alcohol in a teen is illegal. Worse is if they get caught with any alcohol over a 0.02% breath alcohol level. That’s one-fourth of the normal breath alcohol limit for adults! This translates to ONE BEER and they will lose their driver’s license!
Getting behind the wheel while drunk or under the influence of drugs is a deadly risk to take when you are already new to driving. The State of Florida enforces drunk driving laws strictly, so getting caught for a violation can disrupt a young person’s life and ruin future opportunities for them.
These days, we are spoiled for options to take instead of driving impaired to get somewhere. Between rideshare services, designated drivers, taxis, and public transportation, there is practically no excuse to take the risk that comes with buzzed or drunk driving.
We have seen firsthand the heartbreaking injuries and loss of life that come from Driving Under the Influence, or DUI, accidents. Parents should always remind their teen drivers that any amount of alcohol or drugs will have an effect, and it’s not smart to test that by getting behind the wheel of a fast-moving machine.
The experience of being behind the wheel of a car can be very freeing, especially as a first timer, but it’s important not to get dangerously overconfident, especially at faster speeds.
Teens should also be aware that speed changes are usually necessary when inclement weather hits. In Florida, driving too fast in heavy rain and winds can be disastrous and cause any driver to hydroplane or lose control and crash.
Another bad habit that comes from driving too fast is running red lights–and this can be deadly. Parents can monitor risky driving behaviors like speeding by being proactive in the teaching process. This means staying involved with a close eye and reminding them to slow down when they need to.
Set An Example for Your Teen Driver
You probably show your teen how to do things even when you don’t realize it. After all, anyone learning something new will take cues from the one who’s teaching it.
This is why you should always act as a role model while you are behind the wheel and your teen is riding with you. Practice safe driving habits around a new driver, and chances are they will pick them up. This can happen for bad habits as well, so keep that in mind.
Another challenge to this big life step is that driving conditions are very different than they were even twenty years ago. For instance, the average driver has to handle challenges like:
- high car insurance rates,
- rising fuel and car prices,
- more traffic congestion, and
- more distracted drivers on their cell phones.
These changes can add pressure and stress from day-to-day and make learning how to drive even more difficult. To adjust, parents should make sure the driving rules they set with their teen are realistic. They should also give their teen as much practice time behind the wheel as possible (with a responsible adult coaching them).
Who Should I Call If I’ve Been Hurt In A Crash?
Without a doubt, a vehicle can be a dangerous weapon if it’s not operated properly. A teen that is driving distracted or dangerously could cause a fatal crash that changes their life and not for the better.
The young adults who have ended up in that kind of situation probably never imagined that that would be their reality. Teens make up a relatively small percentage of drivers on the road, and yet they are among the most likely to get into a crash.
If you were hurt in an accident in Tampa Bay, you may be wondering what to do next. When you have suffered losses and need compensation, a personal injury and property damage attorney who knows this area is likely the best person to protect your claim.
Let our professional, experienced attorneys and staff at Fernandez & Hernandez handle the paperwork and legal issues while you focus on getting your life back. For a more detailed discussion about your individual options, you can meet one-on-one with an attorney for a free case review.
Call our office at 813.755.9500 or visit us online to stand up for your rights as a victim today.