Safe Driving Tips for Teens

by | Oct 21, 2013 | Car Accident

Oklahoma traffic safety advocates are using National Teen Driving Safety Week, October 20-26, as an opportunity to raise safety awareness among teen drivers.

Drivers who are 16-19 are three times more likely than older drivers to get in fatal car crashes, and a recent survey found that fewer than half of Oklahoma teens comply with restrictions on graduated driver licenses. Many parents wrongly assume that their teenage sons and daughters follow restrictions on driving after dark and having other teens in their cars.

A recent study sponsored by State Farm Insurance found that teen drivers are often in traffic accidents because of inexperience. The survey of Oklahoma teen drivers found that fewer than half obey the nighttime restrictions on their graduated driver licenses, and only 43% follow the restriction on carrying other teenage passengers.

“Drivers who are 16-19 are three times more likely than older drivers to get in fatal car crashes”

New drivers are especially susceptible to distractions, speed control errors, and failure to notice traffic hazards. Head researcher and epidemiologist Allyson Curry noted, “(The) first six months or 500 miles of driving is a crucial time when teens are at highest risk for having accidents.”

Parents of teenage drivers need to play an active role in assuring road safety. Parents can take the following steps to help keep teen drivers safe:

  • Teach teen drivers to scan the road ahead. Noticing road dangers is critical to avoiding crashes, and visually scanning the roadway is a teachable skill.
  • Make sure that teen drivers understand speed control and vehicle stopping distance. Loss of control due to excessive speed is a significant factor in teen driving accidents.
  • Make firm rules about the use of mobile devices. No teen should be allowed to text, email or use handheld devices while behind the wheel.

Even before a teen gets a full license, parents have to make decisions about driver training. Oklahoma’s News9 has additional tips for parents:

Consider a teen’s emotional maturity before allowing him or her to drive. Set firm boundaries for teen drivers and hold them accountable for risky behavior.

  • Choose a high-quality driving school to train teen drivers.
  • Use technology-based traffic safety tools. Mobile tracking, apps that restrict cellphone use while driving, and other electronic solutions are easy to use, give parents feedback about a teen’s driving habits and facilitate new driver supervision.
  • Make sure teenage drivers visit an optometrist and are outfitted with corrective lenses if needed.
  • Restrict teens to driving safe, reliable cars with good vehicle crash ratings.

Even though parents play an important role in keeping teen drivers from having auto accidents, ultimately kids have to take responsibility for learning and practicing good driving habits.

The National Organization for Youth Safety recently hosted a nationwide teen driving summit that featured dozens of speakers who suggested teen road safety solutions. The organization also supports a global teen driving safety month in the spring. The organization works to educate teen drivers about distracted driving and other crash hazards.

The issue of texting while driving has brought together youth, government agencies, companies, and advocacy organizations all around the country. Nonetheless, four in 10 teen drivers admit to texting and driving, and public education has a long way to go before texting, emailing, and using smartphone apps behind the wheel are a thing of the past.

Teens and their parents each have important roles to make sure young drivers are safe drivers.