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Car Safety for Teenage Drivers

Updated on October 4, 2018
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L. Cargill, Medical Laboratory Scientist, ASCP. Retired blood banker and laboratorian. Loves to write about a wide range of subjects. Enjoy!

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)

© 2013 Lela

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