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The Risks of Teen driving: A Guide for Parents

Becoming a good driver takes practice, which is why new drivers—including teens—have higher rates of traffic fatalities. Teens starting out on the road need guidance, as there are many risks they face as new drivers. Parents play a vital role in teaching their teens to become good drivers, so it’s essential parents be aware of the risks teens face behind the wheel.

The Risks Your Teen Faces

Traffic fatalities are the leading cause of death among 15-20 year-olds. This vulnerable age group faces dangers such as distracted driving and riding with inexperienced drivers. You can help mitigate these risks by having an open conversation with your teen about the dangers of driving and providing him or her guidance on how to be a safe and defensive driver.

Reducing the Risk

Distracted driving is one of the biggest risks today’s teen faces when on the road. Teens face the pressures of staying in constant contact with friends and the online world and are more inclined to want to make the most of their technology—and newfound freedom—by using GPS and other mobile navigation technologies. You should warn your teen of the dangers of using mobile devices while driving, but make sure you set a good example yourself. Model responsible behaviors by getting directions before you start the car, pulling over to take calls, and otherwise staying mobile-free while behind the wheel.

Peers can distract teens even more than mobile devices can. Teens who drive with peer passengers face higher rates of traffic fatalities. Unfortunately, more than half of teens who die in car crashes are passengers themselves. Go over the importance of wearing seat belts, and always wear a seat belt yourself when driving with your teen. Also, enforce graduated driving laws, and limit the passengers your teen can drive with to adults only until he or she becomes a more experienced driver.

Practice Makes a Difference

Lastly, make sure your teen gets more than enough practice. Practice in different conditions, such as day and night, and fair and inclement weather. Practice doesn’t make perfect when it comes to driving, but it can increase the chance your teen can safely avoid an accident.

Safe driving comes with practice. But many teens get into accidents while learning how to drive. Make sure you work with your teen on safe driving habits and help them navigate the insurance claim process if they do get in an accident. Speak with an experienced Illinois auto accident attorney if you need guidance. An attorney can advise you on what could potentially happen to your auto insurance rates, explain the claims process, and make sure your rights—and those of your teen—are protected.

R.F. Wittmeyer

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