National Teen Driver Safety Week is October 18-24, 2015 and it’s a good time to get a refresher on positive driving habits.
Driving safety is essential for teens since they are so new to it. Motor vehicle crashes are actually the leading cause of death for people ages 14-18 years old.
According to Traffic Safety Marketing, 2,614 teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes and about 130,000 were injured.
It is up to parents to take the time to educate teens on day to day driving, sending them to driving school can only teach them so much about healthy driving habits.
The five biggest dangers to driving are seatbelts, texting, speeding, passengers, and alcohol – be sure to brush up on your habits in these areas with these easy tips.
This is a no-brainer – buckle up! Every car comes with seatbelts and they are meant to restrain you in case of an accident. However, many people think they are uncomfortable or that they drive safe enough to neglect wearing them. Remember that there are thousands of other people on the road each day who don’t drive like you and can crash into you. The comfort of a seatbelt only requires wearing it a few times consistently to get used to how it feels.
Having the false perception of invincibility is what gets people into trouble. Sixty-four percent of teen passengers riding with teen drivers that died in car accidents weren’t wearing their seatbelts. When the teen driver wasn’t restrained, almost 90 percent of all passengers died in crashes.
Texting While Driving
Many people text while they drive – this is distracted driving and anytime you spend not focusing on the road significantly increases your risk of crashing. Teens are very reliant on their cellphones and 40 percent of all US teens say “they have been in a car when the driver used a cell phone in a way that put people in danger” (FCC).
Drivers of all ages need to understand and practice not using cellphones while driving. “Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted” (Virginia Tech Transportation Institute).
Speeding is easy and tempting to do for many drivers, however, there’s a reason for speed limits. When everyone is abiding by the speed limit, then the flow of traffic is more consistent and driving is predictable. When there are one or two people speeding, this distracts and disrupts the flow of traffic because it usually involves frequent lane changes, which is one of the primary ways that people get into accidents. Twenty-nine percent of teen drivers in 2013 involved in a fatal crash were speeding (NHTSA).
Passengers can be just as distracting to not just teen drivers, but all drivers. In the Archives of Pediatric Medicine, “Two or more peer passengers more than triples the risk of a fatal crash with a teen at the wheel.” Passengers need to pay attention to what they are doing when they are riding in a car and whether or not they are distracting the driver in a negative manner. People don’t have to ride silently in the car, but they shouldn’t be telling them to look everywhere, dancing inside, yelling, etc.
Alcohol Drinking & Driving
Drinking and driving is never a good idea, especially for a teen driver. Teens are more likely to binge drink and then get behind the wheel, even though it is illegal for them to drink in the first place. They need to know that their reaction time is delayed when they drink, and when it comes to driving, every second counts.
At 40 mph, a car moves 58.67 feet per second. At 60 mph, a car moves 88 feet per second. The reaction time to step on the brakes or steer away from an object is already delayed by the effect of alcohol on the brain. One out of five teen drivers under the influence of alcohol in 2013 were involved in a fatal crash.
Take the time to practice safe driving habits yourself and talk to your teenagers about how to drive safely themselves.
Safe driving also means having a safe car to drive. If your check engine light is on, you hear strange rattling noises, or you are overdue on regular maintenance like changing the oil, Schedule an Appointment with an AAMCO Colorado Location near you today for a FREE Diagnostic Test. We have many convenient locations along the Front Range from Fort Collins to Denver to Colorado Springs and Pueblo.