What are Teen Driver’s Areas of Most Inexperience?

18 Mar 2019

Most teen-related vehicle crashes are due to inexperienced drivers. Once teens pass their driver’s test and receive their license, many mistakenly believe they’re experienced drivers. Not so.

Sadly, according to the National Safety Council, car crashes impact individuals of all ages, but are the leading cause of death in teens. In 2016, there were a total of 4,853 crash-related deaths that involved at least one teen driver.

Becoming licensed only means your teen has passed their on-road test and met the practice hours required by the state. Although at this point they do have some basic knowledge of being able to navigate their vehicles in challenging situations like high traffic areas, they still need to gain a lot more driving experience.

Here are some areas of teen driver inexperience:

  1. Vehicle Handling
  • How the vehicle’s balance is affected by braking, acceleration, deceleration and turns
  • Adjusting to the weight and size of the vehicle
  • Contact road patches
  • How to regain control in front- and rear-wheel drive vehicle skids

  1. Hazard Recognition
  • How to respond appropriately to road construction, weather, night driving, bridges in winter
    safety zones
  • Reducing distractions
  • How to look out for trouble
  • Curvy roads ahead
  • Dirt road surfaces
  • Coming upon and turning left at intersections
  1. Identifying Signs
  • Stop signs
  • Curve ahead
  • Rush hour traffic
  • Bike on shoulder
  • Stale green light
  • Driver weaving in lane
  • Snow on road
  1. Speed Management
  • Emergency braking techniques
  • Slowing down and covering brake when coming up to a stale green light
  • Driving at speeds that don’t impede or endanger others
  • Anti-lock braking (ABS) systems versus conventional braking systems
  • Using proper signals
  • Slowing down when driving on a dirt road because of decreased traction
  1. Impaired and Distracted Driving
  • How to avoid driving drowsy
  • Dangers of drinking and driving
  • Dangers of texting while driving
  • Not making unsafe driving decisions
  • Staying completely focused when driving
  • Not talking with passengers while driving
  1. Space Management
  • Knowing how to adjust speed
  • Keeping space ahead of, behind and around your vehicle
  • Avoiding a head-on or rear-ended crash
  • Keeping a safe distance between other vehicles

Ultimately, teens need to know how to operate the vehicle efficiently and recognize hazards. They need to predict and learn how to react quickly to things like drunk drivers weaving in lanes, a car that could run a stop sign or cars turning left that don’t yield to the teen going straight.

Parents should help their newly licensed teens gain more experience driving by continuing to ride with them as a passenger in risky situations like at night or in heavy traffic. Parents might want to draft up a teen-parent driving agreement and monitor their teen’s driving progress carefully.

They can increase driving privileges only when the teen demonstrates skill and maturity. Parents also need to be prepared to step in with extra practice or training and remove privileges if needed. GPS teen tracking devices and in-vehicle monitoring devices can be a supportive and helpful way of enhancing training.

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