Teen Driving Dangers

Teen Drivers Face Greatest Danger in First 12 Months

Driver’s education. Driver’s permit. Driving test. Driver’s license.

For a teen, the time it takes to get a driver’s license can’t pass quickly enough. For parents, it’s often a different story. That’s because the first 12 months after a teen gets a driver’s license are the most dangerous. In fact, nothing kills more U.S. teens than car crashes. A teen driver’s crash risk is three times that of drivers aged 20 and older. Every year, more than 4,700 people die in crashes involving teen drivers.

Top 5 Teen Driving Dangers

After Connecticut Attorney and Teen Safety Advocate Timothy Hollister lost his son in a car accident, he wrote an open letter to teen drivers, outlining a way to remember top teen driving dangers: P-A-C-T-S

Passengers

Teen passengers can increase distractions and peer pressure to drive recklessly.

Alcohol and drugs

These substances slow reaction time, coordination and judgment, making risky situations worse.

Fatigue

Driving late at night or while tired increases the risk of a crash.

Texting while Driving

Using any electronic device to text, type, read, make a phone call, or watch a video puts the driver and passengers in great danger.

Seatbelts

Of the 3,000-4,000 teens who die each year in crashes, as many as 50% are not wearing seatbelts.

12 Teen Driving Safety Tips

To combat these teen driving dangers, experts recommend parents drive with their teen for 30 minutes each week. The goal: Reward and reinforce safe driving behaviors. Be sure your teen knows these safety tips:

On the Road

  1. Obey speed limits.
  2. Hold the steering wheel at either 3 and 9 o’clock or 4 and 8 o’clock to ensure hands do not cause an injury should the airbags go off.
  3. Avoid pulling out in front of anyone or swerving into someone else’s lane.

At School

  1. Stop for school buses with flashing lights.
  2. Look for children getting on and off school buses.
  3. Park where it is possible to pull straight out rather than having to back out, which can be difficult in crowded lots.

In Bad Weather

  1. Allow double or triple the space between your car and the next in wet weather, and pull over if it is raining so hard it is difficult to see.
  2. Test your brakes and then brake and accelerate gently when driving on slippery surfaces like ice or snow.
  3. Turn off cruise control.

While Merging, Turning and Passing

  1. Avoid making left turns across intersections without a turn signal, as it can take time to learn how to gauge the speed of oncoming traffic.
  2. Wait for oncoming traffic to clear before pulling around obstructions.
  3. Do not pass:
    1. If it is not clear that there is enough space or time
    2. The car ahead is travelling at the maximum speed limit
    3. Another car is passing
    4. When passing makes little difference
    5. Over a solid yellow line
    6. In poor weather
    7. When there are blind spots ahead, such as hills or curves
    8. If there is road construction
    9. Through tunnels, on narrow roads, or on bridges
    10. If it is not possible to see around the vehicle ahead

Take the Pledge

Your teen can show his or her commitment to driving safely by signing our teen driving safety pledge. The pledge addresses key teen driving risk factors, such as wearing a seatbelt, texting while driving, using drugs and alcohol and limiting the number of passengers in the vehicle. Download the Teen Driving Safety Pledge. It’s a great way to start a conversation about teen driving dangers with your teen.