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Teens’ Biggest Dangers

Drivers Icon Teaching Your Teen to Drive

Newly licensed teens crash much more often than older, more experienced drivers. These are the circumstances that are the most common trouble areas for young drivers:

Other teens

Research is clear on the fact that risky teen driving behaviors increase in the presence of teen passengers. A teen who is driving with other teens in the car is more likely to crash. And the more kids there are in the car, the stronger the likelihood of a crash. This is the primary reason many states have passed laws that restrict the ability of teens to drive with their peers.

Seatbelts

In 2018, Iowans buckled up at a rate of 93.9 percent. However, between 2013 and 2017, nearly 26 percent of 14 to 20-year-old drivers that were involved in a crash that resulted in death or serious injury were unbelted. Whether sitting in the front or back of a car, buckle up every trip and remind other passengers to buckle up too. It could save their lives, and yours. Please visit NHTSA’s website for more information https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts

Turn up your device volume and play the video below to experience the dangers of being unbelted:

 

Drugs and alcohol

Teens are at far greater risk of death in an alcohol-related crash than the overall population. This is despite the fact they cannot legally purchase or publicly possess alcohol in any state. When alcohol is added to the inexperience of teen drivers, the results can be deadly. In 2016, nearly 20 percent of teenagers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. Marijuana is the drug that’s most commonly found in the blood of drivers who have been in a car crash. It is important to enforce a zero-tolerance policy at home. If your teen uses any alcohol or drugs, they cannot drive, nor should they ride with anyone who has been drinking or using drugs – in any amount.

Watch the simulation below to see how “if you feel different, you drive different”:

 

Fatigue

As teens get older their bedtimes get later, but waking times do not tend to change. From ages 13 to 19, nightly sleep is reduced by 40–50 minutes. Teen drivers who sleep less than 8 hours a night are 33 percent more likely to crash than teens who get more than 8 hours of sleep. This lack of sleep can result in depressive moods, more risk-taking behaviors, and lower grades. It further reduces a person’s ability to process information, be attentive, and have good reflexes, which are all crucial to safe driving. Studies have shown that being awake for 18 hours has a similar impact to having a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of 0.08.

Distracted driving

A driver’s primary responsibility when behind the wheel is to focus on the act of driving. Any behavior that distracts from this activity increases the risk of a collision. In this age of electronic communication, the dangers of distractions have increased significantly. Use of electronic devices for any purpose, to send or receive communications, to surf the web, to view images, video, or anything at all, should absolutely be avoided.

Inexperience

Just as it takes years to perfect any skill – athletic, artistic, or otherwise – it also takes years to be a truly good driver. Until teens are much more experienced, they run a greater risk of crashing, being hurt, and potentially dying. A driver’s license makes them a driver. Experience makes them good drivers.

Night driving

For teens, the most severe crashes occur at night and on weekends. Night driving is challenging for all drivers, but novice drivers do not have the experience to anticipate and react when visibility is reduced. When teens drive at night, it is more often with a lack of adult supervision, with other teen passengers, and at higher speeds – all of which are factors that increase risk.

If you feel different, you drive different

If you’re buzzed, drunk, or high, you are impaired and should never get behind the wheel. Marijuana, the drug most commonly found in the blood of people who have been in a car crash, can affect people differently. The best rule is this: if you plan to drive, have no drugs or alcohol.