Following up with our recent posts regarding National Teen Driver Safety Week, our attorneys thought it was important to review the top ten reported teen driver mistakes recently highlighted in The Chicago Tribune. According to the report, teen drivers are almost four times more likely that older drivers to get in an accident, so by discussing these tips with your teens you may decrease their risk of serious injury in an accident.
The most common mistake by teen drivers is being distracted while driving. According to Distraction.org, teens have the highest population of distracted drivers. Distractions range from visual and manual distractions, such as looking away from the road, using your hands for something other than driving, or simply not paying attention. Technologies, food, music, and other passengers also distract teens from the road.
Teens also take more risks while driving. They are more likely to ignore traffic signs and change lanes aggressively. Researchers concluded that this was likely due to the fact that teen brains have two times the amount of activity in the impulse section of the brain, and this section does is not fully developed until one is twenty years old. One of the top risks teens take is speeding. Because they are new on the road, teens have not discovered their response time and do not understand the relationship between speed and stopping properly.
Other risk factor mentioned in the article include drug and alcohol use and driving drowsy, which can result in just as serious accidents as driving under the influence, and affects many teens with busy schedules. They may be on a sports team, be at the library studying, or just coming home late from a busy day. The article reports that driving drowsy contributes to 1,500 deaths annually.
Driving without a seatbelt is also something that 24% of drivers 16 to 24-years-old do. Because seatbelt safety is so important, and can save lives, many car manufacturers today have a built in seatbelt reminders. Our readers know that seat belt use can greatly reduce a person’s risk for serious personal injuries or death if involved in an accident; however teens and adults continue to operate and ride in vehicles without buckling up.
Following too closely is another driving mistake teens often make. This ties in with driving aggressively, and experts accredit this to teens wanting to show off and force other drivers to move out of their lane. This aggressive behavior can result in serious accidents. And finally, the article notes that it is very important that teenagers and their parents properly maintain their vehicles.
Throughout our practice representing clients in serious car and trucking accident cases, we have unfortunately spoken to too many families who have lost loved ones because of driver negligence. By highlighting these popular mistakes, our Chicago car accident lawyers remind parents of teens and our readers of the dangers of teen driving and some possible ways to avoid them. We hope that teen drivers consider these risks when getting behind the wheel and understand that these driving behaviors can not only cause serious injury or even death to themselves, but also other passengers in their car and others on the road.