A recently reported AAA survey of driving instructors reveals teen drivers remain a threat. It also points out a disturbing contributor: parents.
According to the survey, teen drivers were in nearly 14,000 fatal crashes over the past five years. Shockingly, 65% of the surveyed instructors observed that parents now do worse teaching their teens to drive compared to just 10 years ago.
Top Three Mistakes Teens Make Learning to Drive
According to the survey, the driving instructors revealed these top mistakes of teen drivers:
- Distracted driving. We've talked about this before. And it’s not just using a cellphone, it includes talking with passengers, or looking around in the car. No one can emphasize enough how dangerous—even lethal—distracted driving can be.
- Speeding. No surprise there.
- Inadequate visual scanning. Failing to search the entire road and surroundings for potential hazards and other drivers or pedestrians.
Frighteningly, when you combine any of these mistakes with the inexperience of a teen driver, the results can be deadly. Unfortunately, it gets worse before it gets better.
How Parents Fail Teen Drivers
It’s as old as Adam and Eve: we’re setting a poor example. A different survey, conducted by the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety reported that drivers aged 35 to 55 (i.e., parents) admitted dangerous driving behaviors:
- The real shocker. More than three-quarters (77 percent) of these adult drivers reported talking on a cellphone while driving. Only 68 percent of teens reported doing the same. This stunning statistic may be the first time in recorded history teens outdid adults in safety!
- Another shocker. Virtually the same proportion of teenagers and drivers aged 35 to 55 reported driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a freeway. How is it we’re only neck and neck with teens in keeping our interstates safe from speed demons?
Luckily, here’s a refresher on how we can all do better.
How Parents Can Help Teen Drivers Stay Safe
AAA officials give simple tips that could save your child’s life or someone else’s.
- Stay involved. Make it a priority to coach safe driving, regardless who’s behind the wheel. Practice a lot. In the car, use situations you encounter to show your teen how to be safe. Talk regularly about the dangers of speed and using the phone.
- Enroll your teen in drivers’ education classes.
- Be a good example. Stay off the phone! Slow down!
These studies show safe driving is an issue that should matter to everyone. That means us, too. It’s never too late to recommit to do your part. Let’s all keep each other safe.