More than one-third of young drivers are involved in car accidents within their first year of driving. Speeding, taking on risky behaviors, and driving while distracted all play a significant role in the crash rate. Establishing some ground rules, such as prohibiting reckless or distracted driving, requiring young drivers to wear seatbelts, and encouraging them to drive at safe speeds can substantially reduce the risk for accidents during a driver’s first year.
The Optimistic Perception
High crash rates among young, inexperienced drivers are significantly attributable to their risk perception. These drivers tend to be overly optimistic about the likelihood of negative events occurring to them and they often overestimate their driving skills. They adopt dangerous behaviors like driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which render them susceptible to getting involved in auto accidents. According to a recent NIH study, teens are about five times more likely to take part in risky driving behaviors when compared with their parents. To help reduce the chances of young driver crashes, parents should remind their kids about the adverse effects of impaired or reckless driving.
It’s not unusual to find young drivers engaging in distractive activities that make them take their eyes and minds off the road. For instance, most teens don’t hesitate to use their phones, eat, dance to the music, or even chat with passengers while on the wheel. Driving is an activity that essentially requires both physical and mental concentration and even small distractions can be a recipe for disaster. Parents should educate their teens about the dangers of distracted driving.
Teens are notorious risk takers, which raises the likelihood of them becoming involved in auto accidents during their first year of licensure. They make risky maneuvers that include harder braking, driving at greater speeds and rapid starts and stops. Parents are advised to communicate with their teens about reckless driving and more importantly, lead by example.