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Car Safety for Teenage Drivers

Updated on August 20, 2016
Austinstar profile image

Lela earned a B.A. degree in Journalism from Sam Houston University in Huntsville, TX. She has been writing for the online world for years.

What a car looks like after a crash

Car accident photo
Car accident photo | Source

About Driving in General:

Driving a car is the single most responsible act of your young life. The average car weighs about two tons and can attain speeds in excess of 100 miles per hour. Think of your car as a giant missile or tank in a war game. Think of yourself as being in command of a space ship.

If you drive aggressively, you will most likely have more accidents than people who drive defensively. Aggressive driving is the top cause of automobile accidents today. Aggressive driving techniques include, but are not limited too:

  • driving too fast
  • following the car in front of you too closely (tailgaiting)
  • trying to 'beat' red lights
  • honking your horn excessively - especially when it is out of frustration
  • yelling at other drivers
  • impatience with other drivers
  • accelerating rapidly
  • braking inapropriately
  • trying to pass other drivers all the time

These aggressive acts in a car are deadly. You may kill yourself or others.

Defensive driving techniques include, but are not limited to:

  • keeping constant vigil of an area including your car and at least ten feet around your car
  • keeping your cool at all times
  • obeying all traffic limits and laws
  • respecting your car and its ability to cause major harm to life and property
  • never drinking, texting, changing radio stations/music, trying to retrieve dropped items, etc. while driving
  • practicing driving skills frequently, not just in 'driver's ed' classes
  • listening to the advice of professional drivers
  • understanding your auto's maintenance and keeping it all up to date

There is more to driving than just sitting behind the wheel of a car and getting it to go where you want. A few billion other people must share the road with you. Good driving is a learned skill and it is up to you to learn how to drive well.

Distracted driving is a huge cause of traffic accidents!

Sign the no texting while driving pledge
Sign the no texting while driving pledge | Source

Teenage Drivers

According to statistics at Teen Driver Source, the number one cause of teen death (ages 16 to 19) is car crashes. Many times these crashes occur during the first six months to a year after obtaining a license to drive. This proves the statement that inexperience is the number one reason for car collisions.

Everyone has to start somewhere, but in the case of teenage or new drivers, it pays to get plenty of education and actual practice before getting out there on the road. Teens need the very best driver's education that can be found. Never skimp on this vital instruction. If possible hire a professional driver trained in schooling teens and new drivers.

There are three critical errors that cause 75% of serious teen accidents.

1. Inability to scan ahead, locate and respond to road hazards

Teen drivers do not see the whole road picture. They focus on minor things and major hazards are ignored. Eventually, with practice, drivers learn to "watch the road", not just their immediate vicinity. Practice looking far ahead and anticipating what the drivers around you are going to do.

2. Going too fast

Especially going too fast around curves and through intersections. Inexperienced drivers do not have a "feel for the road". This only comes with practice and patience. Practice setting up a driving course with cones or other obstacles and drive it over and over at different speeds.

3. Being distracted

Being distracted, even for a second, can mean the difference between a crash or successfully negotiating a dangerous situation. Just changing the radio station can be distracting enough to cause a teen driver to miss a child running out into the street or someone running a stop sign. Practice having someone throw a soft rubber ball at your car at unexpected times under controlled conditions.

Teens need to practice driving skills under all kinds of weather conditions. Always accompany your teen during any trip that requires driving in poor weather.

Passengers riding with teen drives need education too. They must not distract or annoy the driver. They must be helpful and watch the road along with the driver. Passengers of teen drivers are at a high risk of being involved in a car crash too.

Teen passengers and cell phones are two distractions proven to kill teens. (from Teen Driver Source)

Important Tips From a Teen Driving School

© 2013 Lela

Comments - Do you know a teenage driver?

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    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      I found your Hub very interesting and informative. I have a 17 yr. old son who has his learner's permit, but he is so afraid of driving because of a couple of close calls (not his fault) that he won't take the test to get his permanent license.

      My young granddaughter slid into a stopped car and tore her car up. I wrote a Hub about going shopping for her a new car with a photo of her totaled Ford Escort. Driving is a scary business here in S. Fl where we have so many older drivers who don't see well; don't hear well, etc.

      Voted this UP, etc.

    • RealHousewife profile image

      Kelly Umphenour 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      That was the scariest time ever for me - of Laurel's life. When she first started driving. I do totally agree too - cars can be weapons. You can kill yourself and other people and who wants to live (if you surive a wreck!) with that for the rest of their lives? I used to beg Laurel to realize that you can't take your eyes off the road for a second! It's a privledge and everyone on the road is depending on kids to keep the roads safe.

      Great hub topic!

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      When I was a driver, I was one of those nightmare drivers. I never crashed though and gave up driving completely after a year. I let the "train take the strain" nowadays.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      drbj, I just got back from Mexico and you are so right, the horn is the only mechanical device they are familiar with. When Bob and I were in the van going back to the airport, he noticed that every singly check engine light was on and/or blinking. Talk about having to drive defensively! Look out!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      It's not just teen drivers on our roads that are hazardous to our health, Lela, but here in south Florida many drivers from Central and South America apparently never took any driving lessons at all. They do know what a horn is, however, since they use it constantly instead of the brakes.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      It is 16 here, Bob. You are correct, insurance rates are sky high for teens. But there is a reason for that. Teens are bad (inexperienced) drivers. It's been proven over and over. Well, you wouldn't expect babies to be able to go get their own groceries now, would you?

      Getting a driver's license is a rite of passage and badge of honor. Yes, they do like to show off and they tend to think they are indestructible. As for drinking and drugs, there is probably some of that going on too.

      People, whoever you are, please don't mix mind altering substances with driving a car. Even over the counter drugs have been known to make drivers impaired. Alcohol is the worst. But even cigarettes are known to cause wrecks.

    • diogenes profile image

      diogenes 4 years ago from UK and Mexico

      A huge problem world-wide. I think they have to be 18's 16 in the US? But kids learn much earlier over there. The slime insurance companies just charge draconian rates without really helping with the problem. One thing would be to restrict them to daytime use perhaps for the first year as so many accidents are caused by drink, drugs and showing off in front of peers?


    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      Teens can not know what they have not learned. Experience is the only teacher. I would recommend that teen, or any new driver for that matter, get in as much practice as they can before driving on the public roads.

      If that means practicing in some vacant school parking lot after hours or on weekends, then go and practice. There needs to be a place for inexperienced drivers to learn.

      The only other way to decrease bad habits is not to develop them in the first place. Teens tend to emulate their peers. This can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on how good the driver educations programs are.

      Study and learn new drivers, study and learn. It's a moral and physical imperative.

    • jose7polanco profile image

      Jose Misael Polanco 4 years ago from Los Angeles

      It is mostly the lack of that sense that more experienced drivers develop. The sense to anticipate coming hazards or road conditions or un usualities.

      But mostly is the lack to sense one's own driving habits, like speeding, what makes teenagers drive the way they do. Sometimes is not on purpose its just a bad habit that teens fail to notice.

    • Austinstar profile image

      Lela 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      I wish we had competency tests for driver's. The little driving test they give is not sufficient to weed out inexperienced and incompetent drivers. I thorough test should be given to teens and people over 65. These groups are responsible for the most accidents and driving errors.

      Deadly indeed.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

      I'm thankful that I live in a state (Illinois) that requires that all teenage drivers take a driver's education course, including behind the wheel training and has a graduated license system. In addition, I think Ilinois requires that teens have a permit for at least 9 months before they can get a license and they cannot get a permit unless they are enrolled in a course. During those 9 months I think they are required to log about 50 hours of driving time (I cannot recall the exact amount.) The scary thing about teen drivers is it is not just inexperience that causes accidents but also the fact that the reasoning part of their brains aren't fully developed. This is an important topic and you highlighted some frightening statistics.

    • WillStarr profile image

      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I'm in favor of treating aggressive/distracted/immature driving just as harshly as we treat drunken driving and for the same's deadly!

      Like many other drivers with years and years of experience, I tend to take driving for granted, so I have to constantly remind myself to pay attention, instead of fiddling around with the radio or navigation gadgets. All it takes is one moment of inattention.

      I now simply let other drivers do what they want. I don't let myself get angry when someone tailgates or cuts me off. My only objective is to get from A to B alive, so I try to simply stay out of the way and stay out of the ongoing road wars.

      Good Hub, Lela!