On behalf of The Ward Firm on Thursday, April 4, 2019.

Learning how to drive back in the day is not the same for teens in 2019. Parents need to anticipate the unique differences that teens are challenged with while joining the road with other drivers. Safety is the highest concern for most parents when it comes to allowing their teenagers to get behind the wheel. So, we must address what threatens teen driver safety and take measures to prevent accidents and tragedy.

Young and inexperienced drivers are most susceptible to distraction and the inability to anticipate other’s actions. Without previous experience, a new driver feels reactive to what’s happening around him or her, instead of navigating the road with confidence and ease.

Here are some of the most common pitfalls teen drivers face:

  • Texting, swiping, posting etc. – Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. Teenagers these days have an abundance of reasons to be constantly on their phones. There’s a strong mental attachment to second-by-second interactions with friends, social media, email, google searches, apps, games, etc.

The temptation to be on the phone is constant. But not only does the cellphone cause a physical distraction, but also an emotional one as well. If a teen driver is getting into a text argument with their boyfriend/girlfriend, their emotions and presence of mind will be off the road and on their conversation.

  • Speed -Speed kills, but unfortunately many young drivers make it a habit every time they get in the driver’s seat to engage in risky speed limits on the road. Speed reduces a driver’s reaction time. Drivers speeding in the right lane are at highest risk of an accident with buses and turning vehicles may slow down or stop.
  • Taking chances -Teen drivers are most likely to take chances with their safety. This includes driving for long hours or late at night, cramming the car with friends, drinking and driving, ignoring traffic signs and rules, etc.

If you are a parent of a teen driver, it is your responsibility to have a mature conversation with him/her about the consequences of making bad decisions as a driver, for their safety and those around them. Teens often feel invincible, but young people die all the time. No one escapes death, and you don’t want them to have a premature departure from this life.