Teen Driver Accidents: Top Mistakes New Drivers Make
Teen drivers are new to the road and, therefore, inherently lack the experience that allows seasoned drivers to react appropriately and quickly to situations that arise while driving. In fact, the risk of motor vehicle crashes is highest amongst 16- to 19-year-olds, who are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash than those who are 20 or older. Understanding what makes teen drivers so susceptible to motor vehicle accidents is the first step in taking the proper precautions to avoid them.
Below are some of the most common mistakes teen drivers make:
- Distracted driving: For young drivers, distraction is often a key factor in crashes. One of the biggest culprits is, not surprisingly, cell phones. Teenage drivers often make phone calls, text, browse the web, and use apps while driving, removing their attention from the road for lengths of time that put them at great risk for a disastrous accident. Sending a single text requires drivers to take their eyes off the road for about 4.6 seconds, which means that at 55 miles an hour, one could drive the length of a football field while looking down at a phone. Of course, using a cell phone is not the only distraction. Other distractions include eating and drinking, adjusting the radio, being distracted by surroundings, or simply zoning out. Unfortunately, any one of these distractions can hinder a driver’s ability to act quickly or scan the road effectively.
- Speeding: This dangerous habit is risky for drivers of any age, but especially hazardous for inexperienced drivers who are not yet able to judge speed or how long it might take to stop. Teenage drivers lack the developed reflexes of older drivers who are better adept at interpreting situations. The fact is that it takes time to improve this, so it is critical to obey posted speed limits or even driving a bit below the speed limit.
- Unnecessary risks: Teenage drivers are also prone to taking unnecessary risks such as speeding through yellow lights, failing to check their blind spots, not using turn signals, driving under the influence, and driving while distracted. With reaction times that are slower than that of an experienced driver, these unnecessary risks can become even more deadly.
- Not wearing a seat belt: Despite the fact that cars today are equipped with incredible safety features, none of them are a substitute for wearing a seat belt, including air bags. Wearing a seat belt can help either eliminate injuries from occurring or reduce the severity of them. In fact, whether or not a driver chooses to wear one can mean the difference between life and death, so drivers of all ages should buckle up.
- Having other teen passengers: When teenagers get their driver’s license, they want to drive their friends around and enjoy their newly acquired freedom. However, having other teen passengers can be very distracting and encourage more aggressive or reckless behavior. Having even one other teen passenger can increase the risk of being involved in a car accident.
- Not keeping the proper distance: Teenage drivers are generally unable to estimate their ability to stop their cars in time, regardless if they are speeding or not. As such, it is important for them to maintain a safe amount of distance between their car and the car ahead of them. The faster they are traveling, the more space is necessary to allow them to stop in time, without causing an accident.
- Fatigued driving: Teenagers need a lot of rest, more than most adults. Their packed schedules often do not allow their body and mind to get the rest they need, which can lead to drowsy driving. Driving while tired or fatigued is essentially another form of impaired driving, resulting in slower reaction times, decreased awareness, and ultimately more accidents. Teen drivers who feel tired should allow someone else to drive if they are experiencing difficulty staying awake. If someone else cannot drive, it is best to pull safely to the side of the road to rest before continuing to drive.
- Not driving the right car: Not all teen drivers have a choice in what kind of car they drive. That said, if they do, it is best to choose one that has the latest safety features and a solid crash record. Safety features are not a substitute for safe driving practices, but they can make life a little easier and help young drivers on the road. Try to avoid choosing a powerful, high-performance car, since these are often easy to lose control of, especially for new drivers.
If you have teenage drivers in your household, help encourage good driving habits by setting a proper example for them. If they see you practice safe driving habits, they will be more inclined to follow suit, which can help save not only their lives, but the lives of others on the road.
Southfield Motor Vehicle Accident Attorneys
If you or a loved one was injured in a motor vehicle accident caused by another person’s negligent or reckless actions, you have a right to pursue fair and just compensation. At Fieger Law, our track record speaks for itself. Our dedicated team has one countless multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients. We refuse to back down or settle for less than what you need.
Call 1-800-294-6637 today to schedule a consultation and get started on your case. We will investigate your accident and hold those responsible accountable.