6 Common Causes of Teen Car Accidents
Putting your teenager behind the wheel will introduce them to new freedoms, expanding their world and instilling the value of independence. However, it’s also essential to bring them to driving school to teach them all the safety precautions they need to take when they’re on the road.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers in America. In 2017, over 3,200 teen drivers perished in a fatal car accident. Thousands of more drivers suffered life-changing and devastating injuries from these collisions, underscoring the importance of practicing road safety. These accidents can be attributed to various causes, and being aware of them will always ensure your teen practices safe driving. Here are the top causes of teen car accidents:
1. Texting While Driving
Using a smartphone while driving is one of the leading causes of teenage car accidents. According to the Journal of Adolescent Health, teenagers in rural areas have the highest incidences of texting while driving. However, 38 percent of all teenage drivers have admitted to texting while behind the wheel in the previous month.
Your teen may be tempted to check their phone when they receive a message while driving, but it is crucial to implement a no texting while driving policy. In fact, they shouldn’t use their phone at all while they’re behind the wheel unless they’re parked. To instill this, don’t touch your phone while you’re driving them around, as they’ll be more likely to follow your example.
2. Driving Under the Influence
The second leading cause of death for teens is driving under the influence. Teenagers are at a higher risk of a motor vehicle collision regardless of how much alcohol they’ve consumed. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more than 16.5 percent of high schoolers have been in a car with a drunk teenage driver. Almost 6 percent have admitted to driving under the influence. Be firm with your teen about the dangers of drunk driving as early as possible, so they’re less likely to engage in the behavior.
3. Not Using the Seat Belt
Seat belts are a convenient yet incredibly effective safety precaution that has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Still, the NHTSA discovered that teens use seat belts the least frequently out of all demographics. The simple act of buckling up can keep them safe in the event of a car collision, so ensure that your entire household habitually wears their seat belts any time they’re in the car. It may also help to remind your teenager that most fatal crashes involve drivers who didn’t buckle up.
4. Passenger Distractions
While it may not be an obvious cause of car accidents, distracted driving can be hazardous. Passenger distractions brought by noisy, restless teens in the car can interrupt your teen’s focus when driving, making them less alert to other vehicles’ movements on the road. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety even found that passenger distractions are more prevalent than texting. If your teen is driving their friends around, be sure to instruct them on passenger conduct and the importance of not disturbing the driver.
Reckless forms of driving like speeding commonly lead to car accidents in teenagers. Some teenagers find the freedom of driving exhilarating, making them more prone to zip past other cars on the road. However, that can easily result in a devastating car accident not only for the teen but for drivers dutifully following the speed limit.
6. Driving While Drowsy
Getting behind the wheel without being well-rested makes you a hazard on the road since your reflexes are slow, and you aren’t as aware of your immediate surroundings. Being sleep-deprived can turn your teen into a dangerous driver, so remind your teen that they should never drive if they feel sleepy.
Being aware of the leading causes of teen car accidents will help you and your teen prepare for taking on the enormous responsibility that comes with getting behind the wheel. Putting them through driving school is a great way to instill safe driving practices and ensure they are responsible drivers who don’t endanger other people’s lives or their own when on the road. However, it is extremely important to know what to do if you're in a car accident.
Athens Driving Prep is the best driving school near you for teens and young drivers. We offer personalized driving lessons that are tailored to each new driver’s specific needs. Register for lessons today!