According to the National Institute of Health, Teenage drivers are eight times more likely to be involved in a collision or near miss during the first three months after getting a driver’s license, compared to the previous three months on a learner’s permit. Teens are also four times more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as rapid acceleration, sudden braking and hard turns, during this period. In contrast, teens on a learner’s permit drove more safely, with their crash/near crash and risky driving rates similar to those of adults. The study appears in the Journal of Adolescent Health.
“Given the abrupt increase in driving risks when teenagers start to drive independently, our findings suggest that they may benefit from a more gradual decrease in adult supervision during the first few months of driving alone,” said Bruce Simons-Morton, Ed.D., M.P.H., senior investigator at NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and one of the authors of the study. Read the full press release here.
How Can You Keep Your Teens Safe?
It is important to choose a driving school which focusses on safe driving. Our teens should also get more behind-the-wheel driving experience.
You as the parent actually will be required to provide more driver education with your teenager than us as the driving school provider. Riding often with your teen driver can help him or her become more comfortable behind the wheel. Slowly introduce more complex driving situations such as driving in the rain, at night or difficult turns. It is critical to practice this often. Teens also need to learn how to gauge a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead of them.
Don’t forget, you have been driving for many, many years and your patience and knowledge will be very important for the teenager to learn from, but how you present it is going to be most important. For example, it is more important for teens to understand how long it takes to make a left turn than it is to learn how to parallel park a vehicle. Riding with your teen will help you notice which things he or she struggles with most so you can practice them repeatedly.
Once your teen has gained plenty of experience, set and enforce rules at home. Setting and enforcing rules consistently – no passengers, cell phone use or night time driving – will help keep your teen as safe as possible when they are ready to navigate the roads alone.