There are numerous things that increase accident risk on the road, and drivers under the age of 20 are big ones. With time, teens gain the experience that makes them better drivers, but there are things that parents can do to help them improve their abilities behind the wheel.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, there is a 30% increase in fatal crashes among teenage drivers compared to other age groups, and inexperience is the main cause of these accidents. Other causes include
- Driving at night
- Driving with other teens in the car
- Driving without seat belts
- Driving distracted
- Driving recklessly
- Driving while tired or under the influence
Because accidents are preventable, there are steps parents can take to improve their teen’s driving. A big thing is to help them gain experience. The CDC recommends the parents ride with the teenager for 30 to 50 hours to help with practice. It is especially helpful to expose them to different scenarios, especially high-risk ones like nighttime, bad weather, the freeway during rush hour and in construction zones.
A parent may also find success with making a driving agreement. Some common rules include 100% seat belt use, no passengers, no drinking and no cell phone use.
Along with a driving agreement, the National Parent Teacher Association discusses that parents also need to lead by example. Studies show that both moms and dads practice distracting behaviors up to 75% of the time when they drive. Parents should be good role models and refrain from eating, drinking, fiddling with the radio and using the phone while driving so teenagers know what good driving should look like.