Teen drivers have a great deal of enthusiasm for their new found freedom on the road. However, due to their lack of experience, young drivers are more at risk for car accidents than seasoned drivers. According to the CDC, teens made up approximately 6.5 percent of the U.S. population in 2016, yet they tallied up an estimated 8.4 percent of car accident damages, accounting for $13.6 billion.
Because they are new to the road, teens must be extraordinarily vigilant. This article will cover 4 vital tips to protect young drivers.
1. Avoid Distractions
According to the United States Department of Transportation, around 481,000 drivers text, talk, or use an app while on the road. Drivers of all ages are prone to multitask, but teens were associated with the largest number of fatal crashes as a result of distractions.
The problem isn't limited to cell phone usage either. Anything that steals a driver's attention away from the road is a distraction. An adjustment of the radio or GPS allows enough time for traffic to change and cause an accident.
Distractions are prevalent on the road. Simply glancing at nearby drivers can allow a teen driver to witness it firsthand. Teen drivers should watch out for other cars that may be distracted and drive defensively.
2. Obey Traffic Laws
Young drivers should vigilantly obey all traffic laws. Many drivers only buckle up at the sight of a police car. However, according to the CDC, a seat belt is the easiest and most effective way to reduce injuries and save lives in car accidents.
Teen drivers should always heed street signs and stop lights. For example, new drivers should make it a habit to use their signal lights to communicate with other cars on the road to give other drivers time to react.
Young drivers may be tempted to speed. However, at higher speeds, the amount of time needed to safely stop a car increases. Teens should take it slow on the road and not venture out when they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or are sleep deprived.
3. Maintain the Vehicle
Regular maintenance of a vehicle makes the car behave reliably and helps drivers avoid an accident. Teen drivers should learn how to commission regular oil changes, tire pressure checks, tire rotation, coolant checks, and brake fluid inspections to avoid a breakdown.
Car maintenance is important for all drivers, so teen drivers should learn early how to perform needed maintenance.
4. Consider Weather Conditions
New drivers are taught to obey the speed laws. However, they aren't always aware that they should reduce their speed at night or for inclement weather conditions.
For example, if a driver gets in a car accident while driving the posted 70 mph speed limit during a snowstorm, the driver may be charged for driving too fast for weather conditions. Slower speeds afford a driver stronger traction as tires have a better grip on the road.
Teen drivers should always make a habit of checking the weather before they venture out on the road. They should give themselves plenty of time to get to their destination and always leave enough room to stop between themselves and the car in front of them.
Drivers can simply stay off the road on days of heavy snow and ice to prevent an accident. However, if they must go out in bad weather, new drivers should clear all snow and ice from the windshield, windows, mirrors, taillights, and headlights and make sure that windshield wipers and brakes are in good shape.
Teens should also sweep snow from the roof of the vehicle so it doesn't fall on the windshield and block their view of the road. They should check antifreeze and washer fluid levels and alert someone of their route so they can be found in the event of a road emergency.
Count on Hix Wrecker Service for all your towing needs. From roadside assistance to automobile accidents, we offer an array of services to make sure teen drivers get back on the road safely and affordably.