As the fall semester begins, your teenager will likely be spending more time driving than usual. Sharing these helpful driving safety tips with your teenager can give you peace of mind and help ensure that they are practicing safe driving as they get back to school.
CDC data has made clear that motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. According to the CDC, in 2019, almost 2,400 teenagers aged 13 – 19 were killed in fatal car accidents. Most teen motor vehicle crashes are preventable, as many of these types of accidents are caused by distracted driving.
If your teen has been involved in an accident in New York, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our dedicated car accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. We will review your case and help you determine your legal options for compensation.
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of car accidents nationwide, and teenagers are some of the biggest offenders. Distracted driving can include any activity that causes your teen to take their attention off the road, including:
- Talking on the phone
- Talking to passengers
- Adjusting the radio
- Eating and drinking
- Personal grooming and applying makeup
- Watching videos
- Taking photos
- Playing games
Because one of the biggest distractions for teenagers involves cell phones and texting, you could consider having your teen utilize the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature, which is available on many cell phones today. Encourage your teen to put their phone away until they arrive safely at their destination.
Always Wear Your Seat Belt
Teenagers may be less inclined to use seat belts than other groups, so it’s important to remind them that using their seat belt can literally save their life in an accident. Encourage your teens to make sure that they and any passengers are safely buckled up before they ever put the car in gear.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drowsy driving was responsible for 697 traffic fatalities in 2019. Drowsy driving is dangerous not just to your teen but to the other motorists they are sharing the road with. Teens are less experienced drivers, so they may not understand how important it is to be properly rested before getting behind the wheel. Encourage them to go to bed early enough that they are adequately rested the following morning.
Practice Your Driving Skills
Many teens are apprehensive when they first begin driving, and that is perfectly normal. Make yourself available to help them practice and hone their driving skills before you allow them to get behind the wheel. The more experience a teenager has behind the wheel, the more likely they are to avoid tragic accidents.
Remember to Share the Road
Teach your teen to be aware of other motorists, bikers, and pedestrians they are sharing the road with. Teenagers who are driving to and from school are likely to get caught in heavy traffic at some point, particularly during morning commutes when many adults are trying to get to work. It’s important to always be as respectful as possible to other drivers.
Encourage your teen to exercise caution around school buses, in school zones, at crosswalks, and around bikers. Teach your teen how to properly signal to other drivers so that other motorists know what they intend to do. And as an extra precaution, consider recommending that your teen leaves space between their car and other cars so that they have time to react if traffic suddenly comes to a halt or if a road hazard unexpectedly pops up.
Practice Courteous Driving
Aggressive driving is common among teenagers, particularly males. It’s important to teach your teen to remain cool and collected when they are behind the wheel and to show courtesy to other motorists. Aggressive driving includes:
- Speeding – Speeding greatly increases the likelihood that your teen will lose control of their vehicle and cause an accident. Accidents caused by speeding tend to be more severe due to the increased speed and force of the impact.
- Tailgating – Tailgating occurs when one motorist follows another too closely from behind, which gives the motorist in back less time to react if the car in front suddenly slows or stops. Tailgating can cause terrible rear-end collisions.
- Sudden and unexpected lane changes – Failing to use turn signals or suddenly veering into other lanes in order to get around a slow driver can lead to devastating accidents. Make sure your teens are aware of their blind spots and that they check them before changing lanes.
- Failure to yield right-of-way – Teens may be less familiar with local right-of-way laws due to their lack of experience. Failing to yield to oncoming traffic when appropriate can have catastrophic consequences.
- Failure to obey traffic signals and stop signs – Running red lights or rolling through stop signs can have severe consequences. Encourage your teen to stop and look both ways before crossing an intersection.
Aggressive driving sometimes occurs when teens are impatient to get somewhere, which you should encourage your teens to leave home early so that they can beat traffic to their destination. Aggressive driving may also occur as a response to other motorists who are driving aggressively. Remind your teens that even if other motorists are behaving in an aggressive manner, they should remain calm and continue driving normally. Aggressive driving behaviors can lead to terrible accidents.
Injured in a Crash? Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney Today
If your teen has been in a car accident in New York, you could be entitled to compensation. Contact our dedicated car accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. today for a free consultation. We have the resources and skills to investigate the accident, determine liability, and aggressively pursue the compensation you are entitled to. Reach out to us today!