As much as you may be proud of your teenager for getting a driver's license, you may also be aware that he or she may pose a danger to him or herself and everyone else on Tennessee's roads. This is not a criticism of your teen in particular, but rather a truth about all teenage drivers.
It comes down to simple inexperience behind the wheel. Practice makes perfect, and the only way for teenagers to get practice driving is to get out there and drive. Even so, there are some things that they can do to help reduce the potential for serious and fatal accidents.
Even adults fall prey to distracted driving, but when that combines with inexperience, the chances of it becoming even more dangerous grows exponentially. Here are some of the most common distractions that put teens at risk:
- When a teen driver's passengers are peers, they can be a tremendous distraction. Talking loudly, playing the music loudly and otherwise disrupting the driver create a dangerous situation.
- When a teen driver reads or sends a text, the risk of a crash increases by a factor of 23.
- When a teen driver dials a phone, the risk of a crash increases by a factor of six.
Even engaging in tasks such as eating, drinking or putting on makeup while driving is not uncommon. Anything that takes a teenager's focus and attention off the road could prove disastrous, especially in heavy traffic or inclement weather.
Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or lack of sleep
It's true that teens cannot legally drink and should not be taking drugs, but it happens more often than parents realize. If you fail to discuss the dangers associated with these behaviors and driving, you put him or her in danger. Impressing upon your child not to drive under these conditions is crucial. You can always deal with the drinking or taking drugs the next day after you know that everyone made it home safely.
Another behavior that many say is just as dangerous as drinking or drugged driving is driving drowsy. Teenagers need their sleep, in order to grow and think clearly in school, but they also need it in order to drive safely. Sleep deprivation also diminishes attention span, judgment and reaction time, along with alertness. The ability to make decisions falters as well.
Even if your teen makes it home safely as a driver, he or she could suffer injuries as a passenger in a car driven by another teen. If your child ends up suffering serious injuries in an accident caused by an inexperienced teenage driver, you could end up facing significant financial losses. You may be able to pursue compensation for those losses through the filing of a personal injury claim.