Teens often make mistakes as they’re learning brand-new skills. On South Dakota roads, these errors in judgment can have far-reaching consequences. While driver safety typically comes from experience, this is not something teens have.
Understand the risk factors
Teens vary in maturity and willingness to take risks. However, experts researching vehicle crashes found that many of the young motorists involved in accidents had something in common: They were typically males between the ages of 16 and 19. Besides that, they had passengers who were teens too. Most importantly, they had just recently received their licenses.
Common teen driving errors in judgment
Inexperience is only one factor. The lack of experience results in other driver safety lapses such as the following that could cause a car accident:
- Seat belts – Many teens do not like to wear seat belts. Some do not think about it when starting the car while others may believe that it is not cool.
- Driving after dark – Younger drivers may misjudge distances, their speed and their ability to stay awake when driving at night. Operating a vehicle between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. is risky for this age group, particularly on the weekends.
- Speeding – It is not unusual for an inexperienced teen driver to underestimate the car’s power and need for brake space. Crashes may involve other motorists or stationary objects.
Talking to teens about driver safety
If you are a teen’s parent, talking to your child about the danger is a good idea. Spell out that distracted driving is a dangerous undertaking. Even more important is your willingness to model the right behavior. Be the uncool mom or dad who will not start the car until all seat belts are on. Let the cellphone ring without giving it a glance. In addition, explain some of your driving decisions as you go. This could save a life.
Of course, there is no guarantee that every teen’s parents are just as thoughtful. If you or a loved one has been in a car crash, you may be able to protect your rights by talking to an attorney.