A teenager’s life is full of mistakes (remember your Sophomore yearbook photo?), and unfortunately, once they get behind the wheel of a car, that includes driving mistakes. There’s something about the combination of inexperience and the burning desire to put pedal to metal that makes for accident-prone youth on the road. You may have some preconceived notions about what makes our mobile newbies so hazardous, but you’ll be surprised to find out that the driving mistakes they make are not the ones you might have expected.
Newbie Driving Mistakes – Distracted Driving
Most people overestimate their ability to focus on a task; we live with so many distractions on a daily basis, we’ve convinced ourselves that we can tune them out. Not true at all for newbie drivers, who tend to make the most elementary driving mistake – getting distracted by something going on in the passenger’s seat. One recent nationwide report showed that up to 20% of accidents that teens were responsible for had to do with distracted driving. It pays to remember that new drivers are so inexperienced that even just the presence of someone in the passenger’s seat can be distracting. Factor in a little radio dial-spinning and overconfidence, and it’s a real bummer combo.
Unexpected Driving Mistakes – Tired Driving
Studies have shown that driving tired is a huge driving mistake – sometimes you can be more impaired driving sleepy than you are when you’re tipsy. The reason this driving mistake is made by teens so often is because they haven’t learned the warning signs of driving tired, and therefore they don’t have any coping techniques. Teenagers have full days, staying up late to finish homework and getting up early to make it to class. Typically, they need more sleep than adults and wind up getting less, so it’s not a total shock that so many teens might be making the driving mistake of being exhausted behind the wheel.
Judgment Driving Mistakes
Another driving mistake that is often the downfall of a teen driver is poor judgment. That’s a fairly broad classification that includes things like misjudging the road conditions and their ability to handle them, driving after drinking, or taking unfamiliar routes home in the dark. Interestingly, very new drivers tend to be cautious about their judgment, it’s the slightly older teen and young adult drivers that tend to rely too heavily on the judgment they haven’t cultivated into maturity. Call it a combination of being overly confident and under practiced.
Reaction Driving Mistakes
This particular category has a wide range of variables, but most of these driving mistakes have to do with things like braking too late to avoid hitting another car, or swerving too violently to miss something in the road. Even overcompensation can be incredibly dangerous on a wet road, causing a teen’s car to jerk out of control very quickly.
If you have a teen driver, a solid way to help the avoid these driving mistakes is to talk them through it. Help them to intellectually understand what’s going on while you’re driving so they can replicate it for themselves. And try and minimize their distractions by not allowing them have passengers in their car or drive very long distances until their a little further along with their mad drivin’ skillz.