According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States. In 2016, 2,433 teens aged 16-19 were killed, and 292,742 were treated in emergency rooms for injuries sustained in motor vehicle accidents. This means that six teens die every day due to car accidents. Most of these accidents are entirely preventable.
Factors that Lead to Teen Accidents
There are a number of factors that make teen drivers more susceptible to accidents. Teens think they are invincible and untouchable and may not perceive driving risks in the same way that adults do. Teens are more likely to underestimate dangers and make critical errors while driving. Speeding, distracted driving, and impaired driving can all be major factors in teen accidents. Many teens report that they’ve learned their bad driving habits from their parents. A report from Liberty Mutual Insurance found that teens and parents reported unsafe driving habits at similar rates.
Talking to Your Teen
Talking to your teen about safe driving can be difficult, but it can play an important role in preventing your child from becoming a statistic. Explain to them the responsibilities that come with a driver’s license and that they are responsible for the safety of themselves, their passengers, and other people on the road. Some things to discuss with your teen include:
- Driving is a privilege—explain to your teen that driving is not a right and is a privilege that can be revoked at any time. Set firm ground rules and expectations when it comes to driving and consistently hold your teen to these expectations. Don’t be afraid to take away driving privileges if you feel your teen is unsafe.
- Explain the dangers—don’t sugarcoat the facts when talking to your teen. Discuss the statistics and the reality that when they get behind the wheel, they are taking their life, and the lives of others, in their hands. Driving can be fun, and the freedom is exhilarating to a teen, but it should still be serious business.
- Offer safe driving tips—teach them how to operate the functions and safety features of the car. Teach your teen to drive defensively and scan for potential threats on the road. What may seem second nature to you can be good information for a newer driver.
- Set a good example—the best way you can teach your teen about safe driving is to drive safely yourself. They will follow your lead, especially when they are first learning to drive.
Contact a Trusted Attorney
If you or your teen has been injured in a car accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule your free consultation.