Risks and Challenges for Teen Drivers (+Infographic)
Teen drivers have a lot of challenges that they need to overcome. It’s exciting to finally have the freedom to drive, but there are also a lot of risks that come with it. Part of the learning process for anything is to gain experience. We don’t just wake up one day and know how to do everything — we have to learn over time.
There are different ways to reduce your risk when you are a new driver. A few suggestions are below:
- Limit the number of passengers that you have in the car with you
- Avoid driving at night until you have gained a lot of practice during the day
- Drive on familiar roads to gain experience with common maneuvers that you will need to do
- Put your electronic devices out of sight and out of reach
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Challenges for Teen Drivers
Lack of Experience
For teen drivers, there’s a clear learning curve. It’s going to take some time for them to gain experience. They will need to figure out the best ways to maneuver, scan the road and situate themselves next to other cars. Unfortunately, the only way to do that is to get behind the wheel of the car and practice driving on the roads that other people are also driving on. But during this time, their lack of experience makes driving risky. Inexperience is a major concern, which is why most states have a graduated licensing process that involves parents or guardians in the teaching process and makes sure that the teen has a certain amount of supervised driving experience before they can start to drive on their own. Even so, teens are 3x more likely to be in a fatal crash than more experienced drivers. Unfortunately, there were 3,255 teen drivers (15-19) who were involved in a fatal crash during 2017.
When you’re driving, things are constantly changing outside of the vehicle. From signs, road markings, street lights, people, animals, cars and bicycles, it can be difficult to go through all of the information and process it quickly and effectively — even as an experienced driver! If you get caught up on unimportant details, such as reading a billboard, then you’re distracted from your driving task. But that isn’t the only thing that puts them at risk of being distracted. Distracted driving is a major problem for all drivers, not just for teens. From fiddling with the radio, talking to a passenger, reaching for a phone, or texting and driving, there are a lot of things that drivers get distracted by. However, in general, young adults have a shorter attention span which means that they most likely get distracted easier.
More Likely to Take Risks
Risk-taking is a another general characteristic of teens. While it’s not always a bad thing to be a risk-taker, it’s never a good thing when it involves driving. Some examples of risk-taking while driving include: speeding, drinking while driving, and texting while driving. In a CDC study, 1 in 10 teens in high school reported that they’ve driven their car while drunk. In a separate study done by AAFP, 38% of surveyed teens admitted to texting or sending an email while driving within the last 30 days.
Both of these studies should make you wonder… how many other students didn’t admit the truth?