For many teenagers, getting a license and starting to drive are important parts of learning to be independent. However, this greater autonomy does come with risks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 2,400 teens died in car crashes in 2019, and teen drivers are three times as likely as motorists older than 20 to lose their lives in motor vehicle accidents.
As a parent, you should understand why teens are riskier drivers and what steps you can take to protect your child.
Why are teen drivers at greater risk of facing a fatal accident?
Teen drivers have significantly less experience behind the wheel than most other motorists, which means they may misinterpret or underestimate potential dangers or make mistakes when trying to avoid hazards. Lack of familiarity with traffic laws could lead to costly errors.
Today reports that teenagers are more likely to take risks without fully comprehending the potential consequences. Because of this, teens may do things that pose a threat to their safety, such as texting while driving or not wearing a seatbelt.
What can you do to keep your teen driver safe?
You can take steps to balance your children’s need for independence with your desire to keep them safe. Consider setting some rules when it comes to operating a vehicle:
- Restrict nighttime driving and set a curfew
- Require your teen to turn off his or her phone or place it on Do Not Disturb mode
- Limit passengers to family members or one other person
Communication is key to ensuring your child practices safe driving habits. Help your teenager understand the hazards posed by distracted driving, alcohol use and other unsafe behaviors behind the wheel.