Statistics compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and other official, reputable groups show that teenage drivers get into more accidents than do any other drivers. Whether you’re a newly-minted San Francisco teen driver, who wants to learn best practices, or you’re a parent or educator of teens, here are critical safe driving tips.
1. Consider an across-the-board ban of cell phone use in the vehicle.
Most parents and teens understand that driving while texting can increase your accident risk substantially. In fact, one study conducted by Virginia Tech found that truckers who texted were over 20 times more likely to get into injury accidents. Due to safety risks, texting while driving has been illegal in the state of California since 2009. Other studies suggest that even chatting on a cell with a hands-free headset can increase your risk because it distracts you from the road. For maximum teen safety, therefore, put an end to any cell phone use in the car
2. Consciously slow down.
Teenage drivers are impulsive, natural risk takers. So many teens speed. Sadly, the effects can be fatal. In fact, 4 out of every 10 teen auto accident deaths can be linked to speeding. The teen driver may need to habituate himself or herself to driving slower than what his or her impulses dictate. Practice fighting the “speeding impulse” to lower the teen’s risk of a crash or collision.
3. Reduce other factors that could contribute to risk or distraction.
Eating, blasting loud music, and even just chatting with friends in the car can all lead to distraction, which can in turn lead to a teen auto accident. Consider encouraging the teen driver to eliminate distractions entirely. In other words: no loud music, no passengers (other than an adult supervisor or parent); no eating or drinking behind the wheel, etc. Remember, teenage drivers “must be accompanied and supervised by a licensed parent, guardian, or other licensed driver 25 years of age or older” when you transport passengers under 20 years of age at any time, for the first twelve months (via CA DMV website). Risk for serious injury will likely go down considerably as a result of these smart safety practices.
4. Choose a vehicle with excellent safety ratings.
It might be tempting, not to mention economical, to give your teen the beat up clunker that’s been sitting in your garage for years. But an investment in safer automotive technology can be priceless. Look for vehicles with airbags, electronic stability control, a terrific safety record, and anti-lock brakes.
5. Lastly, encourage the teen driver to take responsibility for his or her safety – and for the safety of others on the road.
At some point, safety is a choice. Even a teen who drives a very safe car and who has been banned from driving with friends can find ways to get into trouble. Make the teen your ally – you are both on the same side.
If your teen has recently been involved in an auto accident in or around the San Francisco Bay Area, connect with the team here at Shattuck Auto for a professional, friendly, and thorough free consultation about how to repair your vehicle.