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Teen Health and Safety

How to Protect Teens Against the Top 10 Causes of Car Collisions

Teen drivers get into more traffic collisions than any other group of drivers. Some reasons include less driving experience and a willingness to take risks, like speeding and driving while distracted, or it could simply be a lack of proper training. The reality is it’s likely a combination of all of these, and the tragic truth is, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 3,114 teen drivers and passengers lost their lives and more than 297,000 teens were injured in car crashes in 2015.

Mercury Insurance claims data reveals many crashes involving teen drivers, could’ve been avoided. Here are the 10 most common causes of teen driver auto accidents:

  1. Their vehicle rear ends another while driving on the road.
  2. Their vehicle is rear-ended by another.
  3. They fail to yield in an intersection and hit another vehicle.
  4. Another vehicle fails to yield in an intersection and hits theirs.
  5. They hit a parked car.
  6. They collide with a stationary object.
  7. They back into another vehicle while exiting a parking spot.
  8. Another vehicle hits theirs while changing lanes.
  9. They hit another vehicle while changing lanes.
  10. Another vehicle backs into theirs.

The good news is parents can do quite a bit to help prepare their teens for life behind the wheel if they follow these tips:   

Set a good example

Parents are role models, and should not drive distracted if they want their children to do the same. Put the phone down when driving.

Practice a lot

Young drivers can never get too much practice, so let your teen drive with you as much as possible after getting a learner’s permit.

Keep calm

Teaching teens to drive can push even the most patient parents over the edge. If you notice something they could’ve done better, wait until you get home to have a calm conversation.

Talk to your teen as you drive

Take every opportunity to educate them while you’re behind the wheel. Talk about potential hazards and point out what you see while driving.

Choose the right vehicle

The car you choose plays a role in protecting young drivers. Newer vehicles come equipped with safety features like backup cameras, lane departure alerts, electronic braking systems and forward collision warning capabilities that could help your teen driver avoid collisions. NHTSA also gives every vehicle a crash rating, which shows how a vehicle will hold up in a collision. Minivans have the lowest collision fatality rate and offer occupants better protection from injury, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, but mid-sized sedans are also a good choice.

Set expectations

Parents hold the keys, so discuss what is acceptable when your teen is driving and have them sign a contract that states they’ll lose driving privileges if they break the rules.

Teaching teens to actively follow the rules of the road, and continually pay attention to their surroundings will help them reach their destinations safely.

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