Articles about teen drivers seem to be in the news (or maybe because I’m teaching my own teen to drive, I’m just noticing the articles more). Regardless, there were two recent articles I saw that probably interest you if you have a teen driver.
The first reports on a study that finds that 60% of teen driver wrecks result from distractions. This is probably not a surprise to any of us. But the study was noteworthy for me because of the way it was conducted — the AAA Foundation watched nearly 1,700 in-car videos of teen drivers who were involved in wrecks to diagnose what the teens were doing immediately prior to the wreck. The two biggest factors were talking to others in the car and using a cell phone, either for talking or for texting. If you click the link, there is a video story that shows some of the video excerpts from the wrecks. This is certainly something I’m going to make my teen driver watch. Passing on this type of information should be of what we teach our kids.
The second article is a Wall Street Journal article entitled Better Ways To Teach Teen Drivers. The story is based on a 2014 study that placed video cameras in parents’ cars to review what they were teaching their kids. The analysis found that, by and large, teens are being properly taught the mechanics of driving — how to turn, how to control speed, etc. Unfortunately, the study found that parents did not do a good job of teaching teens accident avoidance — how to recognize hazards, how to avoid those hazards, etc.
The best line in the article was discussing the fact that parents spend a lot of time on things they had trouble with, such as parallel parking. But as the story noted, “Most people don’t get killed parallel parking.” Instead, the article encourages parents to spend more time working on hazard recognition and judgment — making left turns into oncoming traffic, how to merge on and off highways at high speed, etc. The article also encourages you to work with your kid in bad weather conditions, in crowded roads, and the like so that the teens’ first time experiencing these things are not while they are alone.
It pains me to give credit to an insurance company, but State Farm has a teen driving program called Road Trips on its teen driving website, http://teendriving.statefarm.com, that can help you with the process. The website also has a 3-d video tool that helps kids learn to scan for hazards as they’re driving.