Young drivers between the ages of 17 and 24 are at a much higher risk of being involved in a car accident than older drivers. Young drivers that fall into this age group only accounts for up to 1.5% of all licensed drivers in the United Kingdom yet they account for as many as 9% of serious and fatal car accidents. In 2013, 234 teen passengers were seriously injured or killed in the UK when their young driver aged 17 to 19 was involved in a car accident. The emotional and financial trauma associated with teen motor vehicle accidents underline the importance of instilling good habits in drivers from a very early age.
Young drivers are faced with countless distractions on the road and making sure they are road-savvy can prevent the occurrence of a lot of anguish and worry. One of the greatest gifts a parent or mentor can give to a young driver is the know-how of how to keep safe on the road. The majority of bad habits teen drivers display were picked up from their parents and peers, making it vitally important to always set a good example when driving with impressionable youngsters in the car.
Tips to keep safe on the road
Keep your eye on the weather
Due to their inexperience in handling a car, under those circumstances, it is even more dangerous for a young driver to be behind the wheel of a car in inclement weather. It is of vital importance that young drivers be taught how to confidently handle a variety of bad-weather challenges. Sending a teenager for an advanced driver’s course to learn control techniques in a safe environment may end up saving their lives as well as the lives of other road users.
Practice defensive driving
It is important to teach children to always be aware of the traffic behind, ahead and next to them and to always have possible escape routes in mind. Stay at least one car length away from the car in front of you when driving at a slower speed and maintain a larger following distance when driving faster. A defensive driving course will teach a teenage driver a lot of valuable and possibly life-saving skills to enforce when driving on the UK’s busy roads.
Do not be tempted to eat, drink, scan through radio stations or even play music too loudly while driving as these can all cause your attention to drift. A wandering mind, even if only for a few seconds, can have fatal consequences. An inexperienced teen driver is more likely to lose control of a vehicle with distractions significantly increasing your chances of not noticing impending danger and not being able to control the vehicle when danger strikes.
Texting, on average, accounts for a loss of attention on the road for 4.6 seconds – enough time to drive the full length of a football field. A great deal of things can go wrong in that seemingly short space of time. Don’t even attempt to text while at a stop street as you won’t notice any vital developments that may occur when you have your head down. Rather send your text messages before you leave home or after you have safely reached your destination.
Teen drivers may, in general, very well be a higher risk on the road than more experienced drivers but it is important to realise that not all young drivers are irresponsible by nature. With proper instruction and continuous guidance, teenage drivers have the potential to turn into well-adjusted and accountable adult drivers.