Teen Safe Driving Tips


Did you know:

  1. Car crashes are the leading cause of death for American Teens – more than drugs, guns, or cancer.
  2. Approximately 500,000 Teenage drivers are injured or killed in auto accidents in the U.S. each year.
  3. 1 in 7 Teen drivers will have an auto accident during their first year of driving.
  4. For every 20 Teenagers in the US, one will die or be seriously injured in an automobile accident this year.
  5. SPEED and LACK OF JUDGEMENT are the two most common factors involved in a Teen auto crash with injuries.

      (sources: National Institute of Health, National Institute for Highway Safety)

Although it has been a few years for some of us, as high-school students we all remember this time of year as an exciting one.  Today’s Teens, in contrast to those of us that graduated in a different decade, face greater challenges and risk on the road.  Having a car or regular access to a car is becoming standard in Utah’s Teen population.

There is much to learn as a new driver and unfortunately we cannot cover everything we would like Teen drivers to know here.  But, there are good websites with such data here:

Met Life Teaching Your Teen To Drive – pdf file

AAA Offers Ten Things Parents Can Do To Keep Their Teen Drivers Safe

Teens will be Teens

Rest assured, in researching this article we have found that life as a Teen is still a lot like it was when we were Teens (I think they may even like bell-bottoms again!).  The differences that you need to know about have to do with technological changes since your days.  Consider these things before your put your Teen on the road:

Cell Phones:  In case you haven’t noticed, Teens love cell phones!  We were just as socially aware as Teens but we didn’t have the means to talk to all our friends like today’s Teens!  That cell phone can literally be a killer when a Teen is behind the wheel.  Our recommendation:  Get the cell phone out of the car, or, more realistically, get your Teen a head-set for his/her cell phone.

Text Messaging:  This modern technology twist represents a huge new problem for all drivers, particularly Teens.  Again, there are not many stats for this new problem but distractions are a huge factor in automotive accidents, especially for lesser-experienced drivers.  If you consider how much Teens text and combine that with their driving experience you can see what a dangerous combination this can be.  If the cell phone is being used with a headset when driving, there is less temptation to text.

Friends:  Also in the social-department Teens with friends in their car are significantly more likely to have an accident than Teens driving alone.  Encourage your Teen drivers to drive alone.

Emotional distractions:  Life as a Teen today can have large stresses; don’t let a Teen drive when he or she is upset.  Emotional highs can be dangerous too.  Be aware of your Teen’s emotional state and don’t be afraid to take his/her keys if emotions are out of control.

Technology isn’t always working against new drivers, here’s some new developments in technology that you may not be aware of:

On-Board data tracking.  As you probably know modern vehicles can record live data while the vehicle is being driven.  This technology was originally developed to help technicians diagnose intermittent problems with a car.  Manufacturers have expanded this technology to help reduce fraudulent warranty claims.  There is an urban legend about a new Ferrari that got brought back to the dealership with engine failure.  Ferrari denied the warranty claim because the car’s on-board computer recorded significant engine over-reving with date-stamps that coincided with when the vehicle was borrowed by the owner’s teenage son!  This may or may not be a true story, but the capabilities of this type of ‘black box’ data recording are very real and becoming more advanced. 

GPS Tracking.  In the same way, if you want more data on your Teen driver there are very advanced GPS tracking devices that you can buy and install in his/her vehicle that will tell you all about where the car was driven, when, and how fast.

Advice from our industry:

As your family automotive service center we feel we can be helpful by presenting tips for keeping Teen drivers safe from our vantage point:

Safety devices:  Vehicles with airbags and other safety equipment are a great idea for a new driver, don’t underestimate their value – they can mean the difference between life and death.

Vehicle Maintenance:  A poorly maintained vehicle will break down more frequently.  New drivers are not good at handling these exceptions and this can easily lead to accidents.

Tires:  PLEASE have your Teen’s tires checked regularly for pressure and for tread wear.  Teens are not going to notice a bald tire like an experienced driver would.  Also PLEASE never let anyone, Teen or not, drive on a temporary spare tire beyond its intended use.  NEVER drive at freeway speeds on a temp. spare and NEVER use the temp for more than getting you to a tire store.

Vehicle Type:  Teens are very likely to ding, dent, crash, and sometimes even destroy their first car.  Putting the human cost aside for a minute, be aware that also translates to more vehicle repairs.  Having Teens driving less glamorous, more ‘utility’ vehicles will mean less money spent at the body shop and elsewhere.  A good tip we like to pass on to parents who are shopping for a vehicle for a first-time driver:  consider the number of seats in the vehicle.  Teens are much more prone to accidents when they have friends along for the ride so less seats = less friends in the car.  A great application of this is to buy your Teen a 2-seater pickup truck.  It’s larger, fairly safe, less glamorous, and seats less.  If you live in a hilly area you might want one with four-wheel-drive although using good winter tires during the snowy months works well too.

Driver Education:  We STRONGLY advocate getting new drivers as much professional education as you can.  Driving school is one of the best investment you can make in your children.

Inspect what you Expect:  This is good advice for living with a Teen in general, but very true with their vehicles.  Go for a drive with them regularly.  Check their car out, see what’s going on.

PLEASE take time to educate your young drivers, if there is anything at all we can do to help here at Integrity First Automotive, let us know.  Our favorite public service that we offer is to hold educational classes at our facility and we would be happy to coordinate something for a group of young drivers if you have such a need.  Please contact us and let us know.

Drive Safely.