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Why are teenage drivers so dangerous?

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2024 | Car Accidents

Despite numerous public safety initiatives and improvements to road signage and traffic signals over the last several decades, drivers in the St. Cloud region are often put at risk of being harmed by negligent and otherwise dangerous drivers. Some of those dangerous drivers are teenagers.

In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash compared to those drivers aged 20 and older. And those who are lucky enough to survive one of these wrecks are often left with devastating injuries, including some that are disabling.

Why are teen drivers at such an increased risk of being involved in an accident?

There are several factors that increase the risk of accident when a teenage driver is involved. Here are some of the issues that seem to plague these drivers, thereby putting themselves and others at risk of serious harm:

  • Inexperience: Teenagers are newer drivers. Even though they’ve received some training and guidance on how to drive safely, new and unusual circumstances can arise out on the road, leaving teenage drivers unsure of how to act. This skill deficiency can create a dangerous situation where the teenage driver and others are hurt.
  • Distractions: Teenagers are oftentimes easily distracted when driving. They might be attached to their phone and thereby engage in texting and driving, or their mind might simply wander toward whatever it is that they’re dealing with in their life at that moment. They can also have passengers in the car who take their attention from the road. Even a few seconds of distraction can cause several yards of road to go unnoticed. In that short amount of distance and time, a severe accident can occur.
  • Intoxication: Young drivers aren’t immune to the dangers of drunk and intoxicated driving. And this is a bigger issue than many people realize. In fact, a 2020 survey found that many teens think that driving under the influence of marijuana isn’t as dangerous as drunk driving. That same survey found that 50% of younger drivers who smoke marijuana reported driving their vehicle after using marijuana. This intoxication can increase reaction time and decrease attentiveness, which is a dangerous combination when it comes to safe driving.
  • Reckless driving: Teenagers tend to feel invincible and as a result they’re more willing to take risks than older individuals. When this is mixed with driving, reckless behavior can follow. Teenagers who speed, change lanes erratically, and fail to observe traffic signs and signals can exponentially increase their risk of being involved in a crash.
  • Night driving: Whether they’re out late with friends, staying up to study, or working deep into the night, teenagers tend to find themselves driving in the dark on a regular basis. This can be dangerous due to reduced visibility, tiredness, and fatigue.

What should you do if you’ve been harmed by a teenage driver?

If you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by a teenager, then think about taking legal action. Doing so may be the only way to recover compensation so that you have the financial resources needed to pay for your medical care and daily living expenses. This is key especially at a time when your injuries prevent you from working. So, if you’re prepared to file a legal claim, then now is the time to start gathering evidence and building your legal arguments.

What can you do if you’re the parent of a teenage driver?

Having a teenager who drives can be scary. But you can teach them to be a safe and defensive driver. Teach them proper distance between vehicles, the importance of avoiding distraction, and the risk of obeying traffic laws. Hopefully then you can build your teenager up to be a safe and confident motorist.