January is Teen Driving Awareness Month in the United States, an important observance that families should know about. According to the CDC, car accidents are the leading cause of death among teens. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 1,885 teen drivers died in traffic accidents in 2020. That is a 17 percent rise from 1,616 teen driver deaths in 2019. Those stats do not include any passengers, but the NHTSA says deaths among passengers of teen drivers rose by 22 percent from 2019 to 2020.
If you have a teen driver at home, the following are some of the most common causes of accidents and what you might be able to do to prevent them.
Nighttime driving can be disorienting for new drivers. According to the CDC, 40 percent of teen deaths from car accidents happened between 9:00 p.m. and 6 a.m. in 2019. More than half of those fatalities happened on weekends.
You should teach your teen how to drive at night and ensure your teen knows how to use the lights. You should help your teen to understand the additional dangers of nighttime driving where you live and how to drive safely after sunset.
In 2019, about half of all teens who died in car accidents were not wearing their seat belts. You should emphasize the importance of wearing seat belts and ensure all passengers are wearing them as well. You also should set a good example by always buckling up and making sure your teen and other passengers do too.
Many accidents involving teen drivers happen because the teen made a critical driving error. Not scanning the road, shoulders, and sidewalks makes it nearly impossible to identify dangerous situations.
Another critical driving error is speeding. Many teen drivers also drive too fast for the current road conditions instead of adjusting their speed and following distance. The posted speed limit is for optimal road conditions. During inclement weather, your teen should know to slow down.
Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents among teens. It also is the leading cause of traffic fatalities among teen drivers and their passengers. Therefore, you should emphasize the dangers of using a cell phone while driving, and remind them that it is illegal in Delaware. Even using a hands-free device can be distracting. Teach your teen that it is best to safely pull over if they must use their cell phone while in the car.
During Teen Driving Awareness Month, teach your teen important safety tips. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, speak with our Wilmington car accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Call us at 302-656-5445 or complete our online form to schedule a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we represent clients in Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.