Teen drivers have a higher risk of being involved in motor vehicle accidents in North Carolina than older drivers. They have little experience and might not understand how to react in emergency situations on the roads. Parents should know the types of risks teenagers face while driving to help them understand what to do and avoid while they are behind the wheel.
Negligent driving behaviors
Some teens feel overconfident behind the wheel despite their lack of experience. They might take risks that mature drivers would avoid. The following driving behaviors pose significant risks to teen drivers:
- Texting while driving
- Eating while driving
- Driving while drowsy
- Impaired driving
- Being distracted by peers in the vehicle
- Talking on cell phones while driving
Parents should provide firm rules to teens about their expectations when they are behind the wheel. They should also model appropriate driving behavior by always wearing seatbelts, obeying traffic rules, and avoiding talking or texting on their phones while driving. When teenagers know their parents’ expectations and also see them modeling appropriate driving behavior, they are less likely to engage in negligent driving behavior that could result in motor vehicle accidents when their parents aren’t present.
Risks caused by weather
Teens also face significant risks when driving in inclement weather. Parents should teach them how to drive defensively when the weather is poor. Some of the types of weather conditions teens should be taught how to handle include the following:
- Strong winds
Taking teens out during these types of weather conditions and having them practice can help them develop appropriate skills to handle driving in them. For example, teens should understand how to appropriately brake on wet or slick pavement, what to do if they hydroplane, and the reasons they should drive at a lower speed than the speed limit when the conditions dictate.
A good way parents can help their teens practice safe driving is to set out their expectations in clear language. When teens know what their rules are and understand the potential consequences for disregarding them, they might be likelier to practice safe driving so that they and others remain safe.