Well, we just had our first significant snow of the year. When my kids were in high school, I always worried about them driving – especially on nights like last Friday night. Teens continue to be over represented in the number of traffic crashes they are involved in despite our efforts to protect them. Traffic crashes are still the leading cause of death for teens – a statistic that is completely unacceptable.
This month’s AAA magazine references a study recently completed by the AAA Foundation that has some very interesting and disturbing findings. For example, the study indicates that teens are 50% more likely to get into a crash the first month after they have their license than they are after their first full year of driving. Speeding, inattention, and failure to yield account for more than half of the crashes new drivers are involved in.
What does this tell us? Well, it tells us that new drivers still have lots to learn about driving, but it also seems like they pick up things fast. It tells us that their primary teachers, their parents, should continue to help their young drivers even though they have their license. The education process shouldn’t stop just because the young driver has a license. AAA suggests that parents ride along with their teens as a passenger from time to time to help them understand new situations – like driving in the snow and ice. They also suggest the teen driving agreement at Teendriving.AAA.com.
I still worry about my kids driving on snowy nights like last Friday, probably always will. But, at least I know they have a lot more experience now in snow conditions and they are better prepared to drive safely in any kind of weather. That is all we can ask for, isn’t it?
Young Driver Crashes, 2008-2010 (PDF)
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