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5 reasons teenage drivers face a greater risk of car accidents

With summer vacation in full swing, you are probably seeing an influx of teenage drivers on California roads. For most teenagers, learning how to drive and sixteenth birthdays represent freedom and liberation from their parents or guardians. However, driving is a huge responsibility that needs to be taken seriously.

It is critical for teenagers to fully comprehend and follow the rules of the road. When they do so, there is a greater probability they will arrive home safely to their families and avoid being a statistic.

Which age group is most at risk?

According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, teenagers between the ages of 16 and 19 are 2.7 times more likely to get into a car accident than all drivers of any other age group combined. While this is in large part due to driving inexperience, statistics show not abiding by basic traffic laws and taking unnecessary risks, such as speeding and not using turn signals, account for more than 50% of accidents involving teenagers.

5 risk factors of teenage drivers

There are additional factors which put teenagers at risk on the road. Five of these factors include:

  • Not wearing a seat belt: While it may seem like the “cool” thing to do, not using a seat belt increases the chances of being critically injured, or worse, in a motor vehicle accident. You should wear your seat belt not only as a driver, but also as a passenger. Teenagers are the least likely demographic to use seat belts.
  • Driving at night: Most people, regardless of age, find night driving difficult. Whether you’re coming home after a long day at work or school, it’s challenging to stay alert when exhausted. For teenagers, they are three times more likely to get into a car crash after 9:00 pm.
  • Having passengers in the car: Being able to drive younger friends around town appeals to many 16-year-olds, and the novelty of hanging out with friends and cruising around the city doesn’t disappear by 19. However, passengers may distract novice drivers and take their attention away from the road.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: While nobody should drink and drive, there is a greater likelihood a teenager doing so will result in grave consequences.
  • Lower hazard detection: As a young and inexperienced driver, teenagers may simply not recognize hazardous driving conditions or potential risks. With time, drivers should hopefully develop this instinct and learn to identify dangers to their safety.

Ultimately, while driving gives teenagers a taste of independence, they are more susceptible to involvement in dangerous collisions. Teenagers can safely navigate roads when they adhere to traffic rules, drive cautiously and not aggressively, always avoid operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs and alcohol and stay alert.

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