The 5 Most Common Mistakes Teens Make and How to Prevent Them
By Master Police Officer III James Poer
The hardest part of my job is to knock on a parent's door to deliver the worst news they could ever get. After 30 years of investigating accidents, this is the part of my job I wish I never had to do. That is why I am committed to helping you make your teen a safer driver.
This month, I want to share with you the 5 most common mistakes that lead to teen driver accidents and fatalities.
Mistake #1- Speeding. There is a multiplier effect when it comes to speed. The faster you go, the amount of time required to stop is multiplied and thus at higher speeds, the time required to stop is greatly decreased.
Kids don't understand this, the physics side of driving that is. They assume they can stop when they want and unfortunately they don't get this knowledge from their driver's education class.
Speed also leads to other common mistakes such as the second most common mistake.
Mistake #2- Over-Correcting. When a teen driver gets into a situation where they need to correct the direction of the vehicle, they often times, over-correct causing loss of control. When you add speed to this effect, the reaction is almost always an over correction that can't be brought back under control.
Mistake #3- Distractions. This is the subject of my latest blog and you can read more on this at parentalcourage.com/. The problem these days is that kids have way too many things in their cars to distract them. Cell phones (whether they're talking or text messaging), and mp-3 players, to name a couple. But the biggest distraction is usually other kids in the car.
Mistake #4- Following too closely. Just as I described in Mistake #1, when a vehicle is following too closely at a high rate of speed, the ability to avoid a collision is reduced to almost nothing if that vehicle's driver decides to suddenly stop.
Mistake #5- Failure to Yield. Many accidents occur when a teen driver fails to yield to another driver when the other driver legally has the right of way. Failing to check for other vehicles in the blind spot, or not accurately estimating the closing rate of another vehicle are also very common problems.
So, how do you help your teen prevent making these mistakes?
Mistake #1- Speeding. The best way I know to deter a child from speeding is to install a GPS monitoring system that will alert you if your teen exceeds a pre-determined safe speed. The majority of fatal accidents occur at very high rates of speed. Knowing that their parents are monitoring their speed almost guarantees that your child won't make this mistake. Contact your local TeenDriverInsurance.com agent for more information.
Mistake #2- Over-correcting. Spend time with your teen in a large open parking lot. Have them swerve the vehicle and try to regain control at various speeds. This will help them understand how the vehicle handles, and to learn the smaller adjustments needed to recover control.
Mistake #3- Distractions. There are laws now that are designed to reduce distractions, but kids frequently ignore these rules. As a parent you must help enforce them. The laws prohibiting cell phone use and limiting the number of passengers in the teen's car were made to save lives.
Mistake #4- Following too Close. The "3 Second" rule can help avoid making this mistake. The rule states that your vehicle should pass an object no sooner than 3 seconds after the car in front of you passes an object. Anything less means that the proper following distance is not being maintained.
Mistake #5- Failure to Yield. Apparently, teens are not getting the message on when they should yield. Drivers' education courses are not covering this well, if at all. It is very likely your teen doesn't have this knowledge and it certainly needs to be addressed. Review the different situations and spend some time in the car with your teen practicing the rules on yielding. The bottom line is that teens are not getting the drivers' education they need from school. It is up to you as the parent to spend time with your teen reviewing the rules of the road and practicing behind the wheel.
Officer Poer is a 30 year veteran accident investigator. He is also a parent of 4 drivers. His experience, conviction, and advice are demonstrated on his website- www.parentalcourage.com. Please visit his site often and remain vigilant on your teen driver's safety!
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