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Why are teenagers more dangerous drivers?

On Behalf of | Oct 14, 2019 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Your job frequently lets you out at 3:30 in the afternoon, which is one of the perks you enjoy. You get to go home a bit early, avoiding the traffic jams so common around 5 p.m., and you get to spend some more time with your family. You really value that time, and you do not mind getting to work a bit earlier than most if it means getting out early.

However, you are also well aware that you leave work at the same time as many teenagers get out of high school. Sometimes, you feel like you are surrounded by teenage drivers on every road, at every stoplight and in every intersection.

It makes you nervous. You know that teens have a reputation as dangerous drivers. In fact, for U.S. teens, car accidents are their leading cause of death. Not only do you worry about getting into an accident, but you also wonder why these drivers are so dangerous.

Lack of experience

First and foremost, the issue is a lack of experience. A 16-year-old driver may have passed his or her tests, but that driver has not even been driving for a year yet. They haven’t encountered many situations that teach them how to drive safely. They haven’t practiced as much as an older driver. There is no way to gain more experience but to drive, and that means their risks are always higher.

Making more critical mistakes

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that, partially due to their lack of experience, teens make more critical mistakes. They call these “critical decision errors.” They happen to adults, as well, but the rate at which teens do this is higher, so they cause many accidents.

Not recognizing hazards

Another issue is that teens do not always recognize hazardous situations. Even when they do, they underestimate the danger. This means they may not react properly. For instance, an experienced adult driver may slow down significantly in the snow and ice during the winter, whereas teens may know the roads are slick but not think it’s all that dangerous.

Taking more risks

Finally, teenagers take more risks. They often tailgate, either with or without realizing they’re doing it. They often break the speed limit. They do the very things that their classes taught them not to do, but they willingly embrace these risks. Again, it could be because they do not understand how dangerous these risky behaviors really are.

After a crash

You have to share the road with these drivers every day on the way home from work. If you do get into an accident and suffer injuries, make sure you know what legal steps to take in Illinois after the crash.