Teen Safe Driving: How Teens Can Become Safer Drivers

Teen safe driving is crucial as they are at higher risk than adults for vehicle crashes resulting in injury and death. Factors that put teen drivers at risk include nighttime and weekend driving, failure to use seatbelts, and drinking and driving.

Teen Safe Driving
Driver safety tips for teenagers include planning ahead, leaving early, obeying the speed limit, riding with a teen, and teaching them what to do after an accident, such as calling 911, filing a crash report, collecting information, and seeking medical treatment.

Teen Driving Statistics

Regrettably, teenagers are more susceptible to being involved in car accidents that result in harm and fatalities compared to adults. Inexperienced newly licensed teens are particularly vulnerable and at a heightened risk, particularly within the first few months of obtaining their driver’s license.

According to the CDC, in 2020:

  • About 2,800 teens aged 13-19 were killed in crashes
  • About 227,000 teens aged 13-19 were injured in crashes
  • Teen crashes resulted in about $40.7 billion in medical costs
  • The fatal crash rate at night is 3x higher for teen drivers aged 16-19 than adults aged 30-59
  • The fatal crash rate for male drivers aged 16-19 was 3x higher than females the same age

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3 Factors That Put Teen Drivers at Risk

Teen drivers are less likely to identify dangerous situations and more likely to engage in risky behavior than adult motorists. This puts teens – and others – at risk on Texas roads. Unfortunately, Texas continues to rank first in the nation year after year for fatal car accidents caused by teens.

1) Nighttime and Weekend Driving

Nighttime driving is always more dangerous than daytime driving, regardless of the motorist’s age. But nighttime driving is especially risky for teens for a number of reasons. In 2020, 44% of crash deaths involving teenagers ages 13-19 occurred between 9 pm and 6 am, and 56% occurred on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

2) Failure to Use Seatbelt

Teens are more likely to take risks, feel invincible, and generally have a limited understanding of the dangers associated with driving. This lack of awareness can result in a failure to take basic safety precautions like wearing their seatbelt. In 2020, 56% of teen drivers and passengers killed in auto crashes were not wearing seatbelts at the scene of the accident.

3) Drinking and Driving

It takes very little alcohol to compromise a teen driver’s abilities behind the wheel. What’s more, they’re less likely than an adult to understand their limits and how they function while intoxicated.

In 2020:

  • 29% of drivers aged 15-20 who were killed in a crash had been drinking
  • 5.4% of surveyed teens had engaged in drinking and driving in the past 30 days
  • 16.7% of surveyed teens had ridden with an intoxicated driver in the past 30 days
  • 24% of male drivers aged 15-20 who were killed had been drinking prior to the crash

Woman driving car distracted by her mobile phone

5 Teen Safe Driving Tips

Though the statistics are sobering, there are many things you and your teen can do to help ensure their safety out on the road. When good behavior is modeled and reinforced, teens are more likely to develop a healthy relationship with driving and exhibit mature behavior behind the wheel.

Teen safe driving tips include:

  1. Plan ahead. Know where you’re going. Teens using navigation on their phone should have the phone mounted where they can see or hear it and type the address in before starting their journey. They should never be holding, reading, or typing into their phones to use navigation during their trip.
  2. Leave early. Teens can feel a lot of pressure to get to places on time to avoid consequences. Help get them in the habit of leaving and arriving early to school, practice, or work. Running late and panicking over disciplinary action can cause teens to make poor and even life-threatening decisions like speeding or running a red light or stop sign.
  3. Don’t use your cell phone for any reason. Taking your eyes off the road for even a few seconds can have deadly consequences. Whether taking a selfie, checking social media, or sending a text, teens must understand that any action requiring the use of their phone can wait until they reach their destination. If something is urgent, encourage your teen to find a place to pull off the road and safely use their phone.
  4. Obey the speed limit. Encourage your teen to notice how people who are speeding and driving erratically often end up at the same red lights as everyone else. While speeding gives the illusion of making good time, in reality, it only shaves a few seconds off your trip. On the other hand, it greatly increases the risk of an accident, injury, speeding ticket, and other serious consequences.
  5. Ride with your teen. Ride with your teen from time to time to observe and guide their driving skills. You might be surprised to see your teen has picked up new habits that are dangerous or reckless. It’s easy for teens to get excited about their newfound freedom and reject some of the more restrictive rules of the road. Remind them of the importance of seatbelts, not using their phone, and not eating or drinking behind the wheel. Your example can go a long way in keeping them safe.

Teach Your Teen What to Do After an Accident

A crash is scary for anyone – especially a new driver. Not only do teens have less experience on the road, but they also have less life experience. This means they’re more likely to panic and be confused immediately after a crash. Teaching them what steps to follow beforehand can help ensure their safety and prevent further issues.

  1. Call 911 and wait for emergency responders in a safe location
  2. File a crash report, even if it’s just a “minor” accident
  3. Collect as much information as you can, including the other driver’s license, insurance, witness contact info, and photos of the road, cars, injuries, and damages
  4. Don’t say you’re sorry because this can be used against you
  5. Seek medical treatment even if you don’t see or feel injuries
  6. Call a car accident lawyer
  7. Don’t post anything about your crash on social media

Knowing what to do in the moments and days after an accident can save you a lot of heartache and expense. Before speaking with an insurance company, call Thompson Law to ensure you have a knowledgeable attorney.

Teenager, woman and man, exchanging information after a car accident.

What You Can Do to Help Your Teen Drive Safely

There are several ways parents or guardians can influence and guide their teens towards safer driving habits. Your involvement can significantly impact your teen’s understanding and respect for road safety, reducing their chances of being involved in a potentially fatal accident. Here are some of the steps you can undertake:

  1. Engage in regular conversations:  Discuss the importance of safe driving habits and the potential consequences of irresponsible behavior on the road. Reinforce the message that driving is a privilege, not a right, and it requires a mature and responsible approach.
  2. Lead by example:  Demonstrate safe driving habits when you are behind the wheel. Show them that obeying traffic rules, not using a phone while driving, and wearing a seatbelt at all times is non-negotiable.
  3. Provide ample practice:  Ensure your teen gets plenty of supervised driving practice in different weather conditions and various times of the day. This will help them gain confidence and experience.
  4. Encourage defensive driving:  Teach your teen to anticipate potential hazards by staying alert and maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles. Encourage them to always be aware of their surroundings and never assume the actions of other drivers.
  5. Enroll them in a driver education course:  This can provide your teen with valuable education about traffic laws and safe driving techniques.
  6. Learn your state’s graduated driver licensing system:  All 50 states employ a three-stage graduated driver licensing (GDL) system to limit high-risk driving situations for new drivers and help them stay safe behind the wheel. Learn the GDL system for your state so your teen can move from learner stage, to intermediate stage, to full privilege driving status.

Parents or guardians play a pivotal role in fostering safe driving habits in teenagers. By maintaining open communication, setting a good example, and providing guided and diverse driving experience, you can help your teen become a responsible and safe driver.

Common Injuries Suffered by Teens in Auto Accidents

At Thompson Law, we know that every personal injury case is unique. Our dedicated team takes the time to learn the extent of your damages and injuries so we can help you get fair value for your claim. With a Texas personal injury attorney on your side, you can focus your time and energy on recovering.

Common types of car crash personal injuries include:

Our Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help

If your teen was in a crash or if you were in an accident involving a teen driver, Thompson Law can help. We’ll ensure you know your rights and develop a strategy for reaching a fair conclusion. Whether you’re dealing with hospital bills, lost wages, emotional distress, or physical pain, our personal injury attorneys are here to support you with a free consultation.

Contact Thompson Law today to speak to a skilled attorney about your case. After an accident, you shouldn’t have to face the negligent party or their insurer alone. We’ll handle the complex legal aspects of your case so you can focus on getting the care and treatment you need.

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Teen Safe Driving FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Who is at fault if my teen is in an accident?

A parent or guardian can be found liable when a teen causes an accident; it all depends on the unique details of the crash. A personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights if your teen was in an accident or if you were involved in a crash with a teen driver.

What happens after a teen is in a crash?

Depending on the specific factors in the accident, a teen may have their license suspended after a crash. Your personal injury attorney can answer all your questions about your teenager’s accident and help you understand your rights.

What are some common causes of teen car accidents in Texas?

Common causes of car accidents involving teens include drunk driving, texting or talking while driving, speeding, tired driving, and other kinds of distracted driving. While teens are often tempted to multitask, even a few seconds of distraction can cause a severe or even fatal crash.

How can a personal injury attorney help?

A personal injury lawyer can help you understand your rights under Texas law. They can gather evidence, documentation, and testimonies that support your claim of physical and emotional pain and suffering. Ultimately, they will work to help you collect fair compensation for the injuries you experienced as a result of your accident.

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