After miles of practice and a comprehensive driving test, teenage drivers are eager to hit the road, but when they climb behind the wheel, they come face to face with the risks involved. At Alfa Insurance®, we want to ensure our youthful drivers and their parents understand the risks of the road.
In every motorized country, teenage drivers represent a major hazard and the worst problem is in the United States. A 2007 study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety stated that 4,946 teenagers died in the United States from motor vehicle crash injuries.
According to the Institute, the risk of crash involvement per mile driven among drivers 16-19 years old is four times the risk among older drivers. This risk is highest for 16- and 17-year-olds. The crash rate per mile driven is almost three times as high among 16-year-olds as among 18- and 19-year-olds.
It is our responsibility as parents and guardians to make sure our teenagers understand the dangers lurking around every curve and take charge to establish rules and safety guidelines. Please read through the following tips, from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, before your teenage driver climbs behind the wheel.
Don’t rely solely on driver education: High school driver education may be the most convenient way to learn driving skills, but it doesn’t produce safer drivers.
Restrict nighttime driving: Most nighttime fatal crashes among young drivers occur between 9 p.m. and midnight, so teenagers shouldn’t be driving much later than 9 p.m.
Restrict passengers: Teen passengers in a vehicle can distract a beginning driver and/or lead to greater risk-taking. Because young drivers often transport their friends, there’s a teen passenger problem as well as a teen driver problem.
Supervise practice driving: Take an active role in helping your teenager learn how to drive. Plan a series of practice sessions in a wide variety of situations, including night driving.
Remember you are a role model: New drivers learn a lot by example, so practice safe driving. Teens with crashes and violations often have parents with poor driving records.
Require safety belt use: Don’t assume that belt use when you’re in the car with your 16-year-old means belts will be used all the time, especially when your child is out with peers.
Prohibit driving after drinking: Make it clear that it’s illegal and highly dangerous for a teenager to drive after drinking alcohol or using any other drug.
Choose vehicles for safety, not image: Teenagers should drive vehicles that reduce their chances of a crash and offer protection in case they do crash. Avoid cars with performance images that might encourage speeding. Avoid trucks and sport utility vehicles – the smaller ones, especially, are more prone to roll over.
For more safety tips and statistics on teenage drivers, visit your local Alfa™ agent and ask for a copy of Beginning Teenage Drivers or log on to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety Web site: www.iihs.org.