As the parent of a teenager, the time they start to drive can be one of the most worrying. Teenagers are more at risk of an accident than other age groups, with figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggesting a driver aged between 16 to 19 is three times more likely to crash than anyone aged 20 or over.
You can never remove the risk of a crash entirely, but understanding why teenage drivers are so at risk can reduce the chance your child crashes.
5 factors that make the first few years of driving more dangerous
Here are five factors that increase crash risk for teenagers, along with some actions that could minimize them:
- Inexperience: Malcolm Gladwell suggested it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at anything. If you drive an hour a day, that means it will take almost 30 years to become an expert driver. Yet you can help your child build up their experience gradually. Consider which times of day are the busiest and which roads are quietest or have fewer tricky junctions. Restricting them to short trips makes it more likely they retain concentration. Accompanying them from time to time allows you to check their progress.
- Distraction: Phones are a natural extension of most modern teenagers’ bodies. Be strict in enforcing no phone use while driving.
- Drink or drugs: People use their teenage years to experiment. Avoid letting your teenager drive to parties or bars where the risk of drinking or taking drugs is high. If they do not have the car with them, they cannot drive it.
- Speeding: Make sure your child leaves plenty of spare time for any journey. It reduces the chance they put their foot down to make up time.
If your child has a crash, the insurer may try to blame them for the collision, using any of the reasons above. Investigating what the other driver did wrong will help you claim the compensation necessary for your teenager’s injuries.