Learn the top mistakes so you and your children can avoid them
According to a study conducted by aceable.com with the help of Texas A&M's Transportation Institute, the biggest factor in teens driving distracted may be witnessing their parents' habits. â€œ3,477 traffic deaths were cause by distracted driving in 2015. Thatâ€™s a 10% increase over the previous year. If 75% of teens say that they see their parents distracted (primarily by cell phones) when driving, then itâ€™s clear that parents have to step up and set the right example to help reverse this trendâ€ says Aceable's CEO, Blake Garrett.
In one study, 45 percent of high school seniors surveyed said they had drunk alcohol in the past month. Teen drivers are at greater risk for accidents than older adults – four times greater, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Here are some of the most common mistakes young drivers make:
- Being distracted behind the wheel – Cell phones, CDs, food, and even text messages can pose serious distractions to drivers. In some cases, drivers will even text their back seat passengers, said Gary Tsifrin of DriversEd.com
- Taking too many risks – Actions such as ignoring traffic signals or school zone signs and changing lanes without checking blind spots. Unlike distracted driving, risky behavior is deliberate
- Speeding – Most drivers occasionally speed, but teens do so because they don't have a good sense of how a car's speed can affect their response time. On average, teens drive faster than all other drivers as a whole.
- Overcrowding the car – Teens frequently overcrowd their car, Tsifrin said. The distractions of carrying too many passengers can have serious consequences. A 2000 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and Johns Hopkins University said that with two passengers, 16-year old drivers were at nearly double the risk of having a fatal accident than if they were alone.
- Driving under the influence – In 2006, a study by the University of Michigan and the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that 45 percent of high school seniors surveyed said they had drunk alcohol in the past month. January's survey by Children's Hospital of Philidelphia and State Farm Insurance said that 45 percent of teens reported seeing other teens drive while high on drugs.
- Following too closely – Maintaining the proper distance is a critical step in preventing accidents. Unfortunately, many teens fail to do so: in a 2005 National Institutes of Health study, teen drivers left nearly two-tenths of a second less following distance behind the car ahead than did general traffic.
- Driving unbuckled – A 2003 survey by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 79 percent of drivers ages 16 to 24 said they wore their seat belts regularly, and 84 percent of the overall population did so.
- Not being able to handle emergencies – Knowing how to avoid an accident comes with driving experience. Young drivers can learn only so much in the classroom, which leaves learning maneuvers like straightening out a skid or how to apply the brakes correctly to real-world experience
- Driving drowsy – Drowsy driving often affects an unlikely group – the so-called ‘good kids.' That means straight-A students or those with a full plate of activities. Three-fourths of teens in one survey said they had observed their peers driving while fatigued.
- Choosing the wrong car and not maintaining it – Too often, a combination of tight budgets and high style leads teens to pass up important safety features for larger engines and flashy accessories.
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