Getting a driver’s license is an exciting rite of passage for all drivers, especially teenagers! Unfortunately, since teen drivers have limited experience behind the wheel, they often make mistakes that lead to accidents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a car accident than those ages 20 and older.
At Crescent City Law, we often help teenage clients seeking to limit the impacts accidents have on their driving record. Understanding some of the common mistakes that teenagers make can help parents prepare them to make smart decisions behind the wheel, avoid these risky behaviors, and prevent accidents.
1. Following too closely
Eager young drivers excited to get to their destination can tailgate other cars. This practice is quite dangerous because it doesn’t leave enough time for the young driver to react in case the car in front of them brakes or makes a last-minute decision.
Drivers should leave at least a full car’s length between vehicles to avoid accidents, but even more distance is necessary when driving at faster speeds, such as on the highway.
It’s a good idea to continue to drive with your teen regularly even after they get their license to provide little reminders about these types of safe driving practices.
2. Having too many passengers in the car
The more passengers that are in a teen driver’s car, the more at risk they are of being involved in an accident. That’s because more people mean more noise and more distractions for the young driver.
Drivers with little experience can suffer greater distraction from passengers in their cars. Additionally, peer pressure can influence the driver’s decision-making when there are more people in their vehicle.
It’s a good idea to set boundaries for your teen driver about how many people can be in their car at once. Some parents allow more family members than they do friends to avoid a party mentality while driving.
The point is: the calmer and quieter things remain, the better for your teen driver.
That newfound freedom of a license can give teenagers an invincible feeling. But unfortunately, young drivers don’t always realize the risks involved in excessive speed.
Just like failing to provide plenty of space between other cars, speeding reduces a teen driver’s ability to anticipate and react to changes on the road.
With experience, drivers learn to monitor their speed regularly and realize the importance of this safe driving practice. Be sure to remind your teen driver regularly about this important safe driving habit.
4. Not wearing a seat belt
Seat belt usage is vital in protecting a driver’s life.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, seat belts saved 14,955 lives in 2017. Luckily, most modern cars are equipped with alerts when drivers fail to wear a seat belt. While this is leading to a 90.7 percent seat belt usage rate in the U.S., it still isn’t enough to keep some drivers from buckling up.
Because teens often feel invincible, they might find it unlikely that they’ll be involved in an accident and need to rely on the safety a seat belt provides. Be sure to encourage your teen to always wear their seat belt – and to ensure all their passengers are buckled up, as well.
5. Driving distracted
Teen drivers certainly aren’t the only ones who engage in distracted driving. It’s a nationwide problem that leads to more accidents with every passing year.
From changing the radio station to checking notifications on a smartphone, driving distracted takes your eyes off the road and away from the important work of operating a motor vehicle.
Make sure that your teen driver understands the gravity of driving distracted and commits to safe driving practices.
If you need to, set up an app on your teen’s phone that puts the phone in airplane mode when they are driving. This can help eliminate temptations to make it easier for your teen driver to commit to paying attention to the road.
Teen driver legal defense in New Orleans
If your teen has been involved in a car accident, contact Crescent City Law in New Orleans for legal defense insights. Our law firm can help you minimize the impact on your teen’s driving record. Schedule a free consultation to learn more.