Driving as a teenager comes with unavoidable risks that make bad behavior, tickets, and accidents far more likely. Failing to account for these added risks is a big mistake that many young drivers are guilty of.
Bad driving can easily result in an accident, which can appear in several different ways. The injuries caused by lane-changing accidents are one example of how a seemingly-simple maneuver can still be dangerous if you are not taking the situation seriously.
That said, you must respect the dangers of all driving situations if you want to avoid a crash. To help you avoid an accident, we’ve got some often overlooked driving risks for teen drivers below.
One of the most commonly ignored safety hazards for young drivers is their passengers.
As a newer driver, you have to focus and remember more than experienced drivers. Driving is still a new skill and you need time for it to become natural. With this in mind, anything that diverts your focus from driving is a big safety concern.
This can be challenging to manage as a teen because you likely are excited to drive and want to take your friends around. While it may seem harmless to have your friends in the car, you are significantly more likely to get into a crash.
The other occupants of your car can be distracting or perhaps they might encourage you to drive unsafely. Most other teens aren’t going to take driving safely, especially when they aren’t the ones behind the wheel. This is why your responsibility is bigger and sometimes this means refusing to let anyone else in the car.
Another overlooked risk is speeding.
If you’re new to driving, then you understand how fun it can be to have so much power and control at your fingertips. Speeding can be particularly tempting because going faster will get your heart racing and it’s surprisingly simple to do.
While you may feel like you can speed safely, speeding is always dangerous. When you speed, the other drivers on the road are not anticipating this and won’t leave enough space for you.
Not only that, but it takes much longer for your car to reach a full stop and any sudden movements you might make to avoid an accident are a lot harder. This means you can’t effectively prevent a crash and are instead relying on luck to keep you out of any dangerous situations.
Even though speeding might feel fun, it won’t get you to your destination faster and directly endangers everyone on the road. With more time spent on the road, your urge to speed will decrease as you realize how unnecessary it is.
Distractions are another concern that you can’t ignore.
The obvious culprit here is cell phones, but you can also become distracted by things like eating in the car, changing the radio, talking to passengers, and something on the side of the road.
The threat of distraction is constant and everywhere when you are driving. Opting to engage in distractions is highly dangerous because your eyes are no longer on the road.
When you do look back at the road, you’ll need time to adjust and reassess the situation. This minor blip can be enough to cause an accident if you don’t recognize the need to stop or move out of the way.
Nothing is ever more important than driving when you’re in the car. Anything else is not worth getting into an accident over and can wait for when you’re no longer driving to address.
A final idea to remember is that you are inexperienced as a teen driver.
Even if you’ve passed your driving test with flying colors and you’ve never encountered any problems, you simply lack the critical understanding that comes with time.
Some situations on the road you’ll only learn how to handle once you’ve seen them with your own eyes. A good example of this is hitting a large puddle during a rainstorm and hydroplaning. Most drivers will panic and overcorrect their steering, which typically only results in a loss of control and crashing once you’re past the puddle.
The more time you spend driving, the better equipped you are to identify and avoid any potential dangers on the road. This can be easy to forget and you may be tempted to drive unsafely because it seems more fun and hasn’t caused a problem yet.
Despite your temptations, you cannot be overconfident. Take things slowly and don’t push your limits on the road.
If you want to stay safe while driving, you must appreciate the added risks of being a teen driver. Driving is difficult enough for any driver, but younger drivers are more likely to get into a crash due to a higher likelihood of not appreciating the risk of and engaging in unsafe driving behaviors.
While many teens aren’t the safest drivers, you can be by remembering to account for commonly overlooked risks. This includes passengers in the car, speeding, engaging in distractions of any form, and your inexperience behind the wheel.
With more time driving and maturing, you’ll come to recognize just how silly and hazardous driving unsafely can be. Nothing is cooler than always arriving at your destination safely.