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For teenagers, driving gives them a sense of freedom and independence. However, their lack of experience behind the wheel increases the chances of accidents and injuries for themselves and others.

There are numerous risk factors involved with teens and crashes. To counteract these risks, parents should play a big role in this area of their teenagers’ lives.

Common risk factors

According to the National Safety Council, 50% of teenagers will get into a motor vehicle accident before they graduate, and inexperience is the biggest reason. The required drivers training and practice hours are not nearly enough to prepare them for all road conditions. Some issues they have include driving the appropriate speed, judging traffic gaps and turning safely.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration discusses that distracted driving is another risk factor for teens. Cell phone use, especially texting, is common. However, teenagers practice other dangerous behaviors while driving, and these include applying makeup, eating, driving with other teens in the car and playing with the radio.

The role parents play

Although it may not always seem like it, teenagers look up to their parents and often mimic their behaviors. This means that parents need to be especially conscious of their driving habits while their teen is in the vehicle. They can be good role models by following speed limits and other traffic laws, wearing their seat belts, avoiding phone use and keeping their eyes on the road at all times.

Parents can also improve their teen’s experience on the road by taking on the role of driving instructor. They should give their child the opportunity to practice driving in varying driving situations and guide them through more challenging ones. They can also ask the teen to point out potential risks on the road, such as bikers, construction zones and pedestrians.