While teen drivers are excited to get behind the wheel, parents often experience conflicting emotions when their children finally get their license. The fact is, younger drivers face a myriad of risks when on the road, and many of these risks increase the chance that an accident will occur. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services explains risks that impact teens so parents ensure their kids will make smart decisions when driving.
It stands to reason that new drivers would be less experienced. This lack of experience is a primary contributor to increased accident risk, especially when inexperience is combined with other factors. For instance, driving distractions encompass a wide range of dangerous behaviors that prevent a driver from focusing his or her full attention on the road. Texting while driving is the most obvious example of distracted behaviors, but having passengers riding along can also cause teen drivers to pay less attention.
There are other dangerous behaviors many teens fall victim to. Speeding not only increases the chance that an accident will occur, it can also cause injuries and property damage to be far more severe. Some drivers partake in other risky behaviors, such as tailgating and drinking while driving. These behaviors are also more prevalent in children whose friends also participate in careless or negligent driving.
There are steps you can take to safeguard your teen. Even something as simple as riding along with your teen on trips reduces accident risk by 75%. You can also limit the number of passengers your teens takes along, or set curfews so your child isn’t driving late at night. Also, encourage your teen to wear his or her seatbelt at all times, even when going on short trips.