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Driving Safety for Teens

Teen Tips for Driving Safe and Sane on the Road

Have you or a friend ever received a ticket for speeding or even caused an automobile accident? Do you know of someone your age that was killed or seriously injured in a weekend car wreck? If so, you're not alone - teen driving accidents and fatalities are unfortunately all too common.

Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for 15- to 20-year-olds, and two out of three teenagers who die in car accidents are passengers in vehicles driven by other teens. The fact is, automobile accidents are a serious problem for teenagers. Safety experts are trying to change that by educating teens about the choices they make when they get behind the wheel or ride in a vehicle with other teens.

Everyone needs to drive safely and defensively. But if you're an inexperienced or teenage driver, it's even more important to understand your responsibilities on the road. Fortunately, being careful and getting more experience behind the wheel can help you become a safer driver.

What Causes Automobile Accidents?

Many things can cause an automobile accident, including weather, reckless driving, speeding, drinking, drug use, and road rage. Teens, who are newer to driving, may be more likely to make mistakes, use poor judgment, or have trouble reacting to sudden changes when they drive.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, most teenage motor vehicle accidents are caused by:

  • Driver error. Compared with crashes caused by older drivers, those of teens more often involve driver mistakes.

  • Speeding. Teen drivers have more crashes in which speeding is a factor. Many high-speed crashes are single-car accidents caused by the driver losing control of the car.

  • Passengers. Teens' fatal crashes are more likely to occur when other teens are in the car. Passengers can distract the driver - usually by talking - and that risk of distraction increases with each additional passenger.

  • Alcohol. Drinking impairs drivers, and even though teen drivers are less likely to drink and drive than adults are, when they do their risk of crashing is much higher.

  • Night driving. Driving at night is risky for beginning drivers. Per mile driven, the nighttime fatal crash rate for teens is about twice as high as the daytime rate.

  • Low seat belt use. Overall, teens are much less likely than adults to use safety belts.