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What circumstances put teen drivers at risk for car accidents?

Teenagers between the ages of 16-19 have the highest average crash and traffic violation rate over any other age group of drivers. There are more rules and regulations for young drivers and with good reason. The state of California bans the use of cellphones for anyone under the age of 18; even in hands-free mode. Cellphones are a known distraction for all drivers, since teenagers are less experienced drivers they tend to gain a false sense of confidence behind the wheel (feeling invincible) which makes them more susceptible to give into distractions.

As parents, you get conflicting feelings about your teen becoming a licensed driver. On one hand you're excited that you no longer have to cater to your kids activity schedule but on the other you know how inexperienced they are behind the wheel, not to mention the fact that you can't predict the actions of other drivers on the road. How do you teach defensive driving skills? How do you teach someone to keep their nerves calm? It's tough, because gaining driver confidence comes with years of experience. 

Keep these tips in mind the next time (and every time) you give your teen the keys to the car:

Carrying passengers

California state law says that teens who obtain a provisional drivers license are not allowed to transport any passengers under the age of 20 unless accompanied by a licensed driver over 25 years old. The fatality risk for teen drivers with passengers in their car is 3.6 times higher than when they're driving alone.

Risk taking

Teen drivers easily gain a false sense of confidence once they're given the independence to drive a car. As a result of their overconfidence they tend to take more risks; speeding, tailgating, running red lights, rolling though stop signs, leaving shorter headways (distance between them and the car in front of them), making illegal turns and failure to yield for pedestrians.

Seatbelt use

Teenagers have the lowest rate of seatbelt use over any other age group. This directly contributes to their overconfidence and feeling invincible. It is so crucial to stress the urgency and importance of wearing a seatbelt at all times.

Hazardous conditions

Teen drivers are inexperienced and less likely to grasp the severity of driving through hazardous conditions and dangerous situations.

Under the influence

A teenager driving under the influence is more likely to be involved in a car crash than any older driver who has the same blood alcohol level.

Poor weather conditions

As stated many times above, teenagers are novice drivers with very minimal experience. This makes them much more vulnerable to causing an accident while driving in poor weather conditions.

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