Teen Driver Safety

Statistically, teen drivers are at their highest risk for serious or fatal injury during their first 2 years of getting behind the wheel. The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS.org) is the recommended site for parents and teens to reference pertaining to safe driving techniques, instructional videos, vehicle safety ratings, and high speed video demonstrating the seriousness of a crash...Recommended video footage: side impact crash / side impact airbag. Since, for most teens, seeing is believing, these videos may be the key to having them take just a few more seconds before proceeding through intersections... where most accidents occur.

Proper Head Restraint Positioning:

The most effective positioning, in terms of mitigating effects of a rear impact crash on the cervical spine is to adjust the head restraint so that the top of the restraint is even with the top of your head. This is important in reducing mechanical stresses to the cervical spine as the vehicle moves forward, beneath the occupant. Improper positioning, having the restraint in the lowest position / cradling the neck, can significantly increase mechanical stresses to the facet articulations and intervertebral discs.

Creating Space

Creating Space is the key to avoiding a crash. It sounds elementary, however, most teens, according to current statistics, do not leave enough of a “space cushion” ON ALL SIDES OF THE VEHICLE in order to effectively execute evasive maneuvers. A collision with another vehicle can only occur once the distance, or space cushion, is closed. In addition to executing proper turns, timely signaling, lane changes, and safe stops, teens must continually monitor their positioning in relation to other vehicles… including driving next to another car. Parents must instruct teens to identify drivers-on-the-phone; typically driving excessively slow or erratic; either within their own lane or crossing lines into another lane...similar to a drunk driver. Additionally, persons on their cell phone can easily be identified by the unusually large distance stopped behind other vehicles at a red light….instead of stopping a single car length distance behind the vehicle ahead, they tend to leave 2-3 car lengths space so they can check email, twitter, and FB while they inch up slowly...not only unsafe but very annoying. Teen drivers need to be aware of the potential the aforementioned has in creating a serious rear impact crash. Space cushioning and teen awareness of their surroundings is key to accident avoidance.

Avoiding Distractions

Avoiding Distractions while driving is as important as creating space. Parents must set strict zero-tolerance rules for their teens when it comes to cell phone use while driving. The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety.org is a good reference source for teens concerning cell phone use and the potential for serious or fatal injuries...we suggest all teens review these compelling, educational videos in order to “send the message home”. THE SAFEST MODE FOR CELL PHONES WHILE DRIVING IS… “OFF”.

Statistics are not in favor of teens driving with other teens; at least during the first 2 years of getting their license. There are simply too many documented cases of serious or fatal crashes that involve multiple teens in one vehicle. Having friends present does not allow new drivers to concentrate, let alone relax and execute proper driving techniques. “Scanning” is a vital part of accident avoidance; parents should teach teens to evaluate and assess oncoming traffic, as well as traffic “up ahead” of their current position in the lane. Scanning prior to traveling through intersections is a suggested method of avoiding serious side impact collisions...from cross traffic as well as oncoming vehicles intending to or poised to make a left turn. Collisions that occur at most major intersections often involve airbag deployment, head injury, torso, or lower extremity injury. Full recovery from these types injuries is often difficult and results in chronic pain with reduced QoL (quality of life).