Learning to drive is an exciting rite of passage for many teenagers. However, new drivers often lack experience, making them more prone to mistakes that could lead to accidents. Page Insurance is committed to promoting safe driving habits, so we’ve created this blog to inform teen drivers of the most common mistakes they might make to help them avoid potentially life-threatening situations. Armed with knowledge and a little caution, you can become a safer driver and enjoy the freedom of the open road.
- Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents among teen drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 9% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were reported as being distracted at the time of the crash. To avoid distractions:
- Put your phone away while driving and avoid using it, even hands-free.
- Set your GPS and music preferences before you start driving.
- Ask passengers to keep noise levels down and avoid engaging in activities that require your attention.
- Speeding is another common mistake among new drivers. The NHTSA reports that in 2019, 31% of male drivers aged 15-20 involved in fatal crashes were speeding. To prevent speeding:
- Familiarize yourself with local speed limits and adhere to them.
- Leave plenty of time to reach your destination to avoid feeling rushed.
- Use your car’s cruise control feature, if available, to help maintain a consistent speed.
- Following too closely, or tailgating, can lead to rear-end collisions. The American Automobile Association (AAA) states that rear-end collisions account for 23% of all crashes involving young drivers. To avoid tailgating:
- Maintain a safe following distance, using the three-second rule as a guide.
- Adjust your following distance in poor weather conditions or when visibility is reduced.
- Be patient and avoid aggressive driving behaviors.
Failing to Yield:
- Many new drivers struggle with determining when to yield the right-of-way, leading to potential accidents. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), failure to yield was cited as a contributing factor in 20% of fatal crashes involving teen drivers in 2019. To yield properly:
- Familiarize yourself with right-of-way rules and local traffic regulations.
- Approach intersections with caution, and be prepared to stop if necessary.
- Always use your turn signals to indicate your intentions.
Unsafe Lane Changes:
- Unsafe lane changes can result in serious accidents, especially if a driver fails to check their blind spots or signal their intentions. To make safe lane changes:
- Always check your mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes.
- Use your turn signals to indicate your intentions well in advance.
- Avoid making sudden or frequent lane changes, which can confuse other drivers.
- Overconfidence can be a dangerous trait for new drivers, leading to risky behaviors and poor decision-making. The IIHS reports that teens have crash rates nearly four times higher than drivers aged 20 and older. To keep overconfidence in check:
- Recognize your limitations as a new driver and avoid situations that may be challenging or stressful.
- Continually practice and refine your driving skills.
- Consider enrolling in a defensive driving course to improve your knowledge and abilities.
Driving Under the Influence:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a grave mistake that can have severe consequences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2019, 24% of drivers aged 15-20 involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. To avoid driving under the influence:
- Understand the dangers and legal ramifications of impaired driving.
- Commit to a zero-tolerance policy for yourself and your passengers.
- Plan for alternative transportation if you know you’ll be consuming alcohol or using substances that can impair your driving.
You can become a safer, more responsible driver by being aware of these common mistakes and avoiding them. Remember, experience comes with time, and practicing good driving habits can help ensure a long and enjoyable driving experience. The road to becoming a skilled driver is paved with patience, awareness, and dedication. Page Insurance encourages all teen drivers to stay safe and enjoy the journey!