Driving can be dangerous. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, around 5.5 million car accidents take place in the United States every single year. Teen drivers, in particular, are likely to get into accidents — and now that school’s out for the summer, we’re entering the most dangerous days of the year for teen drivers.
As a parent, you probably have dual concerns regarding your teen or teens’ driving. First and foremost is their safety. But you also need to be thinking about your own personal injury liability, since it will be you and your insurance company who will bear the brunt of an auto accident injury claim or accident injury lawsuit should your teen driver cause an accident. Carrying adequate liability insurance and having accident injury attorneys can mitigate those legal effects, but it’s still best to avoid them in the first place. With that in mind, here’s what accident injury attorneys wish all teen drivers and their guardians knew about preventing teen driving accidents and injuries:
- There’s No Such Thing as “Safe Speeding”
Speed limits are put in place to protect drivers and pedestrians, and there’s no way to safely exceed the speed limit. Speeding is a factor in a full 40% of fatal accidents in the U.S. — and it’s better to be late than to not get there at all.
- Texting Isn’t Safe Even Where It’s Legal
Texting has been shown, time and time again, to be an extremely dangerous activity in the car. For that reason, most areas have hands-free laws banning the use of cell phones and similar electronic devices. Still, it’s important to keep in mind that even if you happen to be driving in a place where texting on the road is legal, it’s still just as unsafe as it is anyplace else.
- Cell Phones Aren’t the Only Distraction
Distracted driving causes about 20% of all car accidents in the U.S., and that statistic encompasses far more than just cell phone use. Talking to friends in the car or fiddling with the radio can be just as big a distraction, which is why it’s wise to minimize large groups in the car when a teen is driving.
- Planning Can Prevent Drunk Driving
Accident injury attorneys know all too well that around a quarter of teen driving accidents involve alcohol. Teens often drive home after partying because they’re too afraid to let their parents know that they’ve been drinking underage. While you shouldn’t condone underage drinking as a parent, you and your teens should have an honest discussion about driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol and come up with a plan to make sure they aren’t tempted to roll the dice and hope they get away without consequences.
- Seat Belts Aren’t Just for Your Safety
Seat belts save lives. It’s important that teens understand that not only will seat belts protect them in case of a crash, they’ll also help them to stay steady and retain more control over the vehicle. It’s also smart to talk to teens about how they can enforce seat-belt rules for passengers in their car — and why they need to do so.
Do you have any advice to share on helping teens stay safe on the road? Join the discussion in the comments.