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Teen Driver Safety Tips

Did you know that motor vehicle crashes are the leading causes of death for teenagers in the U.S.? [1]

If you are reading this, you may be a teenager who has just recently gotten your learner’s permit or your driving license. Even if you aren’t a teen driver, keep reading. There is more information about how everyone can help teens drive safely.

Last week was the 11th anniversary of National Teen Driver Safety Week. Ever since 2007, State Farm®, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and members of Congress dedicated the 3rd full week of October to Teen Driver Safety Week.

Did you know that new adolescent drivers, those with less than 18 months of experience are at 4 times the risk of a crash or near-crash events? There are numerous factors that influence this statistic, such as a lack of experience, teenage passengers, speeding, drowsiness, substance abuse, etc.

For the teen driver:

  • Keep the surroundings in check. Driving is a dangerous task, so anticipating any hazards and thinking ahead will help prevent accidents.
  • Limit the number of passengers in the car. As the number of passengers increases, the risk of crashing also increases. When 16- to 17-year-olds have 1 friend in the car, there is a 40% increased risk of crashing. Where there are 2 passengers, there is an 80% increased risk of crashing. When there are 3 or more passengers, a 120% increased risk of crashing. [2]
  • Keep an eye on the speedometer. The speed limit signs aren’t there as a precaution, they’re mandatory. Be sure to look out for those and adjust your speed accordingly.
  • Act smart with your smartphone. It can wait. Whether you receive a text, phone call, or other notifications, resist the urge to pick up your phone.
    • Recently, an iPhone update included a feature that senses when the car is in motion and doesn’t alert you when you receive a notification. You can customize these settings by going to Settings > Do Not Disturb, then scroll all the way down to activate the feature whichever way you would like.
  • Don’t drink and drive. 

For the passenger:

  • Speak up if the driver is texting. Offer to text for them should the need arise.

For the parent:

  • Set a good example. Teenagers are more likely to follow your lead. Be sure to always put on your seat belt, do not drink and drive, do not eat nor drink, do not use your cell phone in any way, and always obey the speed limits and traffic signals.
  • Spend more practice time with your teenager. The experiences needed to become a reasonably proficient driver is about fifty hours over the course of six months. Be sure to provide as much driver education as possible because in this case, practice does not make perfect, but “practice makes better”.
  • Set a good example. Teenagers are more likely to follow your lead. Be sure to always put on your seat belt, do not drink and drive, do not eat nor drink, do not use your cell phone in any way, and always obey the speed limits and traffic signals.

Watch this video to see how other parents pledge to protect teen drivers:









Finally, make sure you do these 3 things at all times when driving:

  1. Scan your surroundings and stay alert for any hazards
  2. Drive slowly enough to accommodate road conditions
  3. Do not get distracted by anything happening in your vehicle or outside.

1. https://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/teen_drivers/index.html
2. http://www.ncsl.org/documents/transportation/AAPteendriver.pdf