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How to Keep Teen Drivers Safe

Car accidents are the second leading cause of death for teens in the US.

Photo by By antoniodiaz / SHutterstock

Parents of teenages worry about a lot of things. Keeping them safe while they are driving usually tops the list, and justifiably so. Teenage drivers are 1.6 times more likely than adults to be involved in a car crash, and an astounding fifty percent of all teens will be in a car accident before they graduate from high school. Add to those statistics the fact that motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of death for teenagers in the US, and worrying about a teen driver’s serious injury or death rightly becomes a high-priority parental concern. The good news is that there are ways to help your teen driver be safer when they are out on the road.

Experience gained from hours behind the wheel is the most reliable way to become a safer driver. Simply spending a lot of time in the car with your teen as they learn — ideally at least 30 to 50 hours — will pay dividends in terms of safety. A driver’s ed program (which is required by law in Virginia) or a safe driver’s program are great ideas, too. Even after your teen gets their licence it’s a good idea to continue riding along with them regularly for practice. Be sure to drive in all kinds of traffic conditions: sun and rain, nighttime and daytime, heavy traffic and light.

Time of day also matters when it comes to avoiding potential traffic accidents. Teenagers are four times as likely to die in a car crash at night as they are during the day. Think about limiting your teen’s nighttime driving until they are older and more experienced. And be sure to insist that everyone in the car always wear a seatbelt, so that if there is an accident, you are greatly reducing the risk of serious injury or death by being belted in.

And while all drivers — teen and adult alike — should avoid using phones while driving, there are a few interesting apps that can help encourage safer driving habits. Since simply holding a phone increases the risk of crashing by up to four times, these apps reward you for not picking up your device. Some — like This App Saves Lives — award points for ignoring your phone while you are driving, and the points add up to free stuff or discounts on everything from specialty cookies to sports apparel. Others, like State Farm’s Drive Safe & Save app, give you insurance discounts when you consistently drive without speeding or braking too hard.

All of us here at Burnett & Williams hope that you and your teen drivers stay safe out on the road, but if you are ever in a serious automobile accident, our attorneys are here to help.

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