Getting a car for the first time and learning to drive is an exciting time. Driving is a symbol of independence, access to countless possibilities, but driving also poses many dangers, especially to young and inexperienced drivers. The more you drive, the more experienced you become in making on-the-spot decisions, reacting to other drivers, and knowing what to do in a situation to remain safe. Of course, even the most experienced driver is still capable of getting into an accident (accidents DO happen), but as a teen driver who is learning all of the rules and responsibilities of driving for the first time, the learning curve can be very steep.
According to the CDC, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among teen drivers. They are more likely to underestimate dangerous situations and overestimate their control. They often have too much confidence in their ability to stop their car on time or their ability to correct their mistakes. In return, teen drivers are more likely to over correct small mistakes, increasing their chances of losing control of their car.
Another trend among teen drivers is distracted driving. Teens are quick to become a statistic in this category with 6 out of 10 teen accidents involving some type of distracted driving. Seemingly innocent acts such as riding around with your friends, eating, or singing to music can become dangerous if an inexperienced driver is doing them. While no one should be distracted on their cell phone while driving, it is even worse if young drivers are doing it. Because young drivers have spent less time behind the wheel they cannot draw upon their previous experiences to manage unsafe conditions.
It is important to guide and educate young drivers on the responsibilities and risks associated with driving. If you are the parent of a young driver teach them the dangers of cell phone usage and reckless driving habits. Driving a car is a responsibility and commitment to yourself and to others that you will exercise caution and care.
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