According to a 2016 study by the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention, teenagers (ages 15-19) made up roughly 6.5% of the driving-age population of the United States but accounted for just shy of 8.5% of total damages in auto accidents — a whopping $13.6 billion dollars worth.
In today’s blog from Pacific Driver Education, a well-known driving school in Gresham, Oregon, we will take a look at the four highest risk factors for teen drivers, so you can talk to your son or daughter about the kinds of driving behaviors to avoid.
We will also share a little bit about how a driver education course from a reputable driving school can reduce your teenager’s risk of an accident, and how it can help you rest easy knowing that your teen is prepared to be on the road, because no matter what the risk factors are, inexperience on the road is the biggest challenge facing your teen. When faced with unsafe, irregular situations, they simply don’t have enough practice to be much help to themselves. With Pacific Driver Education, you get them the hours behind the wheel they need to be a safer driver.
Read on to learn more. Or for more information about our driving lessons for teens in Gresham, visit us online.
To be fair to our children, distracted driving isn’t just a problem that teenagers are responsible for. We’ve all seen people in their cars, not paying attention, either driving erratically or stopped at a green light, while using their phone.
However, texting and surfing the web while driving aren’t the only forms of distracted driving that pose a risk for your teen. Eating while driving, adjusting the radio, and punching directions into the almighty Google Maps are all things that take your teen’s attention, eyes, and hands off the road.
Not Following Speed Limits
Another trap that teens fall into is a failure to obey speed limits. Once again, many drivers are guilty of going over the speed limit, but teens are especially susceptible to it. Between potential pressure from friends to simply not being used to always being on the lookout for a change in speed limits, teens may be more prone to speeding than the average driver.
Under normal driving conditions, speeding is dangerous. Once you add in the common weather effects of Gresham’s climate — things like regular rainfall, light, wet snow, and foggy mornings (especially near the Columbia River) — the risks of speeding while driving are amplified.
Driving While Under the Influence
A highly illegal activity with serious consequences for your teenager — and oftentimes other drivers and passengers on the road with them — driving while under the influence is something that every parent needs to talk to their teenager about.
In the same study referenced above, the CDC found that 15% of drivers between the ages of 16 and 20 who were involved in a fatal car crash had a blood alcohol content of .08% or greater. Additionally, at any level of intoxication, a teenage driver was twice as likely to be involved in an accident as older drivers were.
Although alcohol is the single largest substance influencing these statistics, make sure to talk to your teen about other forms of intoxicants and how they can impair their driving, putting everyone with and around them at risk.
Driving While Tired
With school, sports, jobs, and all of the social activities that your teen in involved with, it’s a wonder that they have energy left for anything else. Being so run down and tired can be a tremendous risk to your teenager’s well-being when operating a car. Driving tired slows your response times and reduces alertness — two key components to safe driving.
How You Can Help Your Teen Driver
- Talk to them about being in charge of their vehicle and making sure that their passengers understand the rules.
- Set aside time to provide supervised driving opportunities to help them gain experience and get constructive feedback.
- Enroll in a professional driving school program for teens.
- Demonstrate the best of driving behaviors when your teen is in the car with you.
- Talk to them about drinking and driving.
- Talk to them about how to manage and be safe in the rain, snow, and other high-risk driving situations.
- Tell them to always wear a seat belt.
How Our Driving School Can Help
At Pacific Driver Education, we offer driving lessons and classroom instruction for teens that teach safe driving, encourage safe behavior, and helps teens understand what they can do to become safer drivers, protecting themselves, the people they care about, and everyone one else privileged enough to be on the road. Because driving is a privilege, and with it comes a big responsibility to be safe. Let Pacific Driver Education help protect your family with professional driving lessons for your teen.