Auto accidents are the number one cause of deaths for teenage drivers, affecting more than alcohol, drugs and suicide combined. Teens are at risk because they are inexperienced and teenage drivers are more likely to:
- Drive aggressively
- Not wear seat belts
- Underestimate the dangers associated with hazardous driving situations
Teenage drivers also have the highest percentage of crashes involving speeding, single-vehicle crashes, crashes with driver error and the highest vehicle occupancy or number of passengers in the vehicle.
What’s the bottom line? By following these teenage driving safety tips, you can help boost teenage driving safety.
Use your common sense for teenage driving safety.
By being a safe driver, your teenager won’t have to pay expensive tickets or additional insurance costs, nor will they have to face the courts as a result of criminal charges related to reckless driving.
Take care of your vehicle. Check your:
- Tires, wipers, lights
- Oil, transmission and washer fluid levels
- State inspection (if applicable)
Always be courteous.
- Don’t blind other drivers with your auto’s high beams.
- Be patient and considerate of others.
- Look before backing out of a parking space or entering traffic.
Don’t lend your car.
- Always have permission to use an auto. Your insurance usually follows the car, not the driver. If a friend wrecks your car, your insurance typically pays for the damage.
Wear your seatbelt.
It’s a safety issue, but wearing your seat belt is also the law in most states and it will dramatically reduce your chances of receiving a head injury or being thrown from your vehicle if you are involved in an accident. Make sure your passengers use the safety precaution of buckling up too. Don’t let your car’s airbags give you a false sense of security. Airbags are designed to work with seatbelts, not in place of seatbelts.
Teenage driving safety is important to your family. If you won’t wear a seat belt for your own safety, do it for the people who love and care about you.
Don’t drink and/or take drugs and drive.
When you drink, even a small amount of alcohol can affect you. When you drink and drive, you endanger yourself and others. This danger also exists when you take drugs and drive.
Know the rules of the road.
In order to step up and be aware of teenage driving safety, know your traffic signs. Disobeying the rules of the road can result in traffic violations, including:
- Reckless/improper driving
- Improper passing
- Hit-and-run or leaving the scene of an accident
- Drag racing on a public highway
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Teenage driving safety includes not using a cell phone when the car is moving and never attempting to send a text message while driving. You should also avoid eating, applying makeup or changing a CD or songs on an MP3 player while driving.
Limit the number of teen passengers.
Studies on teenage driving safety show that a young drivers’ crash risk increases with each teenage passenger. Many state laws restrict the number of passengers a teenager is allowed to transport, so refer to your state laws, and remember fewer passengers is always safer.
For more information about insuring teen drivers, refer to these frequently asked questions and answers or the driver’s licensing information by state. You can also watch Young Drivers: The High-Risk Years (16 min.) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.