Every time you are on the road, there is a risk of getting in a car accident. However, it seems that young drivers are especially prone to be involved in traffic accidents compared to others. In fact, car wrecks are a leading cause of death for young adults and teens in the U.S.
No matter how careful they try to be, all young people start with no experience and face many distractions. These include anything from passengers who like to chat and laugh in the backseat to cell phones that are a huge part of their everyday lives. Early on, these inexperienced drivers might be cautious and take things slowly, but the more comfortable they get behind the wheel, the more likely they are to lose their focus and engage in risky behaviors. Young drivers tend to enjoy going fast or driving at night. Not all of them realize how important it is never to text or engage in long phone calls while driving, and they don’t always remember about their seatbelts.
Here are the most common causes of crashes involving young people.
Unfortunately, many young people make the mistake of drinking and driving. They often come from parties or find themselves in bars and clubs where alcohol flows freely. Even when they think they can handle their liquor, they should keep in mind that each drink can slow down reaction time and cause blurred vision.
While driving under the influence of any mind-altering substances is inexcusable regardless of age, young people who are under the influence of alcohol are much more likely to be involved in a car accident than older people with the same blood alcohol concentration.
What’s more, it’s not only hazardous to people’s health or even lives (both the driver’s as well as their passengers’ and other road users’) but, according to Oasis Financial experts, it can result in severe financial problems, as drunk driving is harshly treated in court.
Drugs And Medication
Driving under the influence of drugs is not as common as drinking and driving, but it is still a way-too-common cause of car accidents among young adults. These substances include drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin, as well as over-the-counter medications and certain prescription drugs.
They are especially dangerous because a great part of these narcotics can slow down reaction time and affect the ability to make decisions. Drugs lead to difficulty processing information and make it challenging to do more than one thing at a time, for instance, keeping your car within its lane while watching for oncoming traffic.
Distractions can take many forms – passengers, loud music, cellphones, or eating. All these things can divert a driver’s attention away from the road and increase the likelihood of getting into an accident. Anything that takes a driver’s hand off the wheel or their eyes off the road is a potential threat to them and everyone around.
When your mind isn’t focused on driving, you might not notice road signs or oncoming traffic and, therefore, become a danger to yourself and others. Due to lack of experience, young drivers usually need more time to react to roadway hazards, so they should aim to stay as focused as possible when they’re behind the wheel.
Aggressive Driving and Speeding
A lot of young people tend to drive fast and tailgate other vehicles. They might like to try out the powerful engines of their cars or simply show off, but going faster than the speed limit is a common cause of car accidents. This is especially true for young male drivers who are in the car with other male passengers. It is not uncommon for young people to get tickets for speeding, but no matter how many times they get pulled over for this offense, they are still tempted to push the limits on the road.
Many young people tend to think that they’re invincible and there is no way they could possibly suffer traumatic injuries or die in an accident. They often lack experience and, as such, tend to push harder on the gas pedal without thinking about possible consequences. Driving over the speed limit increases the risk of losing control over the vehicle, reduces the effectiveness of protective equipment, and increases the degree of crash severity leading to more severe injuries.
Not Buckling Up
Compared with other age groups, teens and young adults have some of the lowest seat belt use rates. A study published in 2016 revealed that only 61% of high school students always wear seat belts when riding with another person. Lack of proper education or positive influence from friends and family members leads young people to disregard the importance of using seat belts.
The fact that vehicle occupants who were not wearing seatbelts were two times more likely to die in a car accident compared to those who buckled up every time shows that it’s crucial not to neglect it each time you’re behind the wheel. Moreover, young drivers should encourage their passengers to do the same.
It wouldn’t be fair to say that all young people are reckless behind the wheel, but risky behaviors are more common among American teens and young adults than in other age groups. Young people are more likely to engage in risky situations, such as following too closely, unsafe accelerations, and rapid lane changes.
If they’re driving with friends, it’s also more possible for them to run a red light, race with other vehicles, or evade law enforcement. These are all examples of reckless driving, and it’s essential to state that, unlike careless driving and improper driving, which are both civil traffic violations, reckless driving is a criminal offense.
Weather and Road Conditions
The weather can have a huge impact on road safety, especially when there is snow or ice on the ground or it has started raining heavily. Even if you have great control over your vehicle and feel that you can drive safely in bad conditions, you should always give yourself some extra time when traveling during inclement weather. Young drivers lack the necessary experience to be truly confident behind the wheel, so it is vital for them to recognize it and be more careful.
Although young people can be good drivers and learn from their mistakes, they are still more likely than others to be involved in car accidents. Since they are not as experienced as older drivers, they can easily be overwhelmed by how much is happening when they enter the traffic, which will make it harder for them to stay focused and alert.
Driving can be dangerous even for experienced drivers; however, the most important thing is that accidents can be prevented. Young drivers need to be more careful on the road, buckle up regularly, avoid distractions, and learn to drive at a reasonable speed so that they can focus on driving safely.