Are teenage drivers more likely to be involved in accidents?
Teens are more likely to be involved in a crash than any other age group, and car crashes are the second leading cause of death amongst teenagers in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Distractions, less skill managing driving speed, and a reduced awareness of surroundings often play a role in accidents involving teenage drivers. Many of these accidents are preventable with proper education, enough driving practice, and the right strategies behind the wheel.
What are the leading causes of teenage driving accidents?
According to research from the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in a crash when the following factors are at play:
- They are distracted: Whether it's another passenger, a text message, or changing the radio station, taking your eyes off the road can cause an accident. To prevent distracted driving, teens need to set aside all potential distractions before they get behind the wheel.
- They aren't managing driving speed well: Speed management isn't just about driving above the speed limit. Younger, newer drivers often struggle to modulate their speed based on driving conditions and road conditions, like approaching a curve or driving in the rain.
- They aren't aware of their surroundings: It's important for teens to develop situational awareness while driving, including routinely checking their blind spots and mirrors. When teens are aware of their surroundings, it can help them avoid potential problems on the road.
Tips to prevent teenage car accidents
Teens can take the following steps to help reduce their risk of an accident.
Practice with a licensed adult in the car
Teens need hours of practice to become skilled drivers. Even after getting your driver’s license, it’s helpful to log plenty of driving time with a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.
Take a driver's education course
Getting training from certified instructors can positive impact you and your teen. Driver education can reduce the number of accidents and traffic tickets in young drivers, which is why many states require teens to take a driver's education course to get their license. Even if your state doesn't require it, it's still worth considering to help your teen develop crucial skills behind the wheel.
Limit nighttime driving
There may be times when driving at night is necessary, but limiting the amount of nighttime driving can help reduce the risk of accidents.
Encourage your teen to put their phone away, limit passengers, and focus only on driving when they're behind the wheel.
Practice what you preach
Set a good example for your teen by driving without distractions. If they see you texting and driving, they'll think it's OK to do so as well.
Wear a seat belt
Wearing a seat belt won’t help teens avoid an accident, but it can help them survive one. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that many high school students don't consistently wear a seat belt when riding in a car as a passenger. Learn more about how not wearing a seat belt affects insurance.