Do you have a teen learning to drive? Remember that teen drivers between 15-20 experienced a 14.8% increase in fatal accidents in California between 2020 and 2021. There also were 1,885 fatal accidents involving teens nationwide in 2020. So, teaching your teen to be a safe driver to avoid severe and sometimes fatal injuries is critical. Read on to learn essential care safety tips for teens, and if you or your teen have been in an accident, talk to our Inland Empire car accident lawyers at Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C., for assistance.
Data shows several causes of serious and fatal accidents involving California teenagers. They are:
All teenagers are too young to buy or consume alcohol, but in 2020, 29% of teen drivers in fatal accidents nationally were intoxicated. Further, 88% of those drivers had a BAC above .08%, California’s legal limit for adults. The number of young drivers in fatal accidents who were intoxicated has almost doubled since 2017.
Not wearing a seatbelt contributed to 52% of fatal teen car accidents in 2020 nationally. So always remind your teenager to buckle up to significantly reduce their chances of severe injury or death.
Speeding is deadly for every driver, especially teenagers. In 2020, fatal accidents involving young drivers between 15 and 20 involved speeding more than other age groups.
Risky teenage driving behavior as much as triples when multiple passengers are in the car. Remind your teenager to keep the number of people in the car to a minimum.
If you want to keep your teen driver safe, also remind them to follow these safety tips and strategies:
Have the teen reduce driving at night and on weekends. Set a reasonable curfew for your teen and be sure they stick to it. Many authorities recommend setting a teen curfew between 9 and 10 A.M. Encourage them to take the bus, train, or carpool when it’s dark. Help your young driver get used to driving at night by being with them in the car.
We know that speeding causes more than its share of severe teen accidents, so you can nip this problem in the bud by being a good example. When the young driver observes their parents keeping to the speed limit and following traffic rules, they usually do the same.
Fatigued driving is dangerous. You can help your teen avoid being tired behind the wheel by knowing their schedule and ensuring they get enough sleep. Be mindful of the times when they need to get out of bed early the next day, such as going to school every morning. Then, when they are up early, they should get plenty of rest the night before to stay safe behind the wheel.
Other drivers are supposed to check their blind spots, but your teen can help by staying out of blind spots as much as possible. They should pass other drivers without speeding but should not linger in drivers’ blind spots.
Rear-end crashes are a significant cause of teen accidents. When you follow too closely, entirely stopping without a crash is most difficult. Being too close also reduces vision and being able to see what is coming. Remind your teen to give plenty of space to the vehicle in front.
Also, advise your young driver to be equally aware of what is behind them while driving. When driving, it is best to check your rearview and side mirrors every 15 to 30 seconds. Next, encourage them to check their blind spots carefully before switching lanes.
Distracted driving kills thousands of people nationwide annually. But, did you know that reading or sending a text while going 55 MPH is like driving with your eyes shut for the length of a football field.
Help your young driver avoid distracted driving hazards by setting stringent rules for texting, talking, and emailing when driving. In addition, most cell phones can shut off certain functions automatically when you or your teen are driving. Encourage the teen to use those features, especially between the ages of 16 and 19.
Young drivers between 15 and 19 can never get enough driving practice. So, allow your teen to drive often during the day with you in the car. For example, if you are running to the bank or grocery store, encourage your teen to drive under your observation.
The state DMV reports that teens average about double the number of crashes as adult drivers, and that happens when they drive only about 50% as much as other drivers. So another way for teens to avoid accidents is to be aware of where the most crash risk is on the road.
For example, many teen auto accidents happen at busy California intersections. Drivers must watch traffic from multiple directions, and it is easy for a young driver to miss something. Teens should get a lot of practice driving through busy interactions so they know what to expect.
Many teens also get into accidents with cars turning left. Drivers tend to get impatient when waiting for a gap in traffic, and younger drivers are more likely to misjudge. Inexperienced drivers may also not see a biker or motorcyclist approaching when they turn left.
Unsafe lane changes also lead to their share of teen accidents. For example, teen drivers may forget to check their rear and side mirrors before changing lanes and drift into another lane when they turn their heads to check for traffic.
Teenagers often get into more car accidents than other drivers, but the safety tips outlined in this article can reduce the problem. If you or your teen were in an accident, please contact our Inland Empire car accident lawyers now to schedule an appointment for a free consultation at Law Office of Joseph Richards, P.C. at (888) 883-6588.