Do you remember when you were in high school, cruising around on a summer night with friends in tow? Many a teen enjoys such an experience, but today many states have placed restrictions on the number and age of passengers that can accompany a new driver.
There’s good reason too: teen drivers are three times more likely to have an accident than drivers who are 20 years and older. One of the most common causes of accidents according to the National Institute of health is distracted driving.
The Increase in Crashes
It has been reported that with every teen passenger added to a car, the risk of crashing increases. While states may have imposed laws regarding number of passengers, parents should be setting their own rules and restrictions too. You can adjust these as your teen gains more experience.
Knowing that the passengers can be an addition to distracted driving, you can teach teens ways to help reduce the risk of accidents. Make sure your teen knows these tips before s/he catches a ride.
Paying Attention to the Road
While passengers may not have their foot on the pedal and hands on the wheel, they can act as an extra pair of eyes to sense problems. Passengers can do things like look around the car for obstructions, move out the way when the driver needs to see out the window or help navigate around a new place.
Not Adding Stress
Keeping an eye on the road isn’t the same as being a nagging backseat driver. It’s essential to support safe driving habits and be on the lookout for road issues, but passengers who point out everything the driver does wrong or comments on their friend’s way of driving is just adding to the stress of the drive.
Passengers should show drivers respect by not pressuring the driver to go faster and by remaining calm.
Being Better Passengers As a Group
More passengers equal a greater risk for distracted driving. That’s why it is important that every passenger is mindful of their actions. Greater distraction could mean the driver crossing over into other lanes or slowing down unnecessarily.
Combat the commotion by keeping voices down, turning the music down and paying attention to what’s happening around the car.
Putting the Electronics Away
When drivers text and drive, they are 23 more times likely to have an accident. However, passengers using electronics can also cause distraction.
Passengers should put their phones and other electronics away while the car is moving. Phones can take away the passenger’s awareness and cause the driver to listen in on the conversation, preventing him or her from placing full attention on driving.
The Bottom Line
Accidents can’t always be prevented, but teen passengers should be doing everything possible to be good passengers.
It’s important to teach teens to be aware of the hazards associated with catching a ride with their friends. It’s the first step towards safer adolescent drivers.
If your teen has been involved in a distracted driving accident, you can talk to the lawyers at Dement Askew about the process involved in claims. Call today at (919) 833-5555.