As parents, when our kids are independent enough to drive themselves, it relieves a huge burden on us. It also, however, creates an entirely new set of risks to worry about.
Last year, young people between the ages of 15-19 represented less than 8% of the U.S. population yet they accounted for over $14B of the total cost of motor vehicle injuries.
Many studies point to underage drinking, distracted driving, and driving with teen passengers as major risks that lead to such a crash rate amongst teens. While those numbers are undeniable, each of those factors can be eliminated through effective parenting or personal responsibility.
The more difficult condition to eliminate or prepare for comes down to experience. In fact, the leading cause attributable to such a high incident of risk is that teens are actually more likely than older drivers to underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations at all. Teens are also more likely than adults to make critical decision errors that lead to serious crashes.
This means that parents should do their best to try to communicate exactly what types of injuries could occur at various speeds. Most teens don’t realize the weight of their vehicle because they are able to maneuver it so effortlessly. The combination of just “normal” speeds and the weight of most vehicles can be a deadly combination. And it is of utmost importance that we teach our children the inherent dangers of all of these factors.