Speeding Among Top Causes of Teen Accidents

Speeding Among Top Causes of Teen Accidents

Speeding is high-risk behavior, and teens are more likely to engage in such behavior than adults. It is the second major cause of teen accidents after distracted driving, being a factor in 52% of fatal accidents with a teenager driving.

Speeding is responsible for one-third of all car accidents. Of male drivers killed between the ages of 15 and 20, 24% had been speeding.

Driving for the first few years as a teen can be an exhilarating experience. You finally have some freedom to go where you wish. Driving fast is also stimulating, and many of us enjoy it, though doing so is risky and violates the law. There is no real justification for speeding other than the thrill it gives since most trips are short and you may arrive just a few minutes earlier than if you had driven at the speed limit.

Factors that encourage teen drivers to speed include:

  • Inexperience – traveling at the speed limit in rain, sleet or snow may be too fast for the conditions. Teens are also unaware of particular hazards in rural, urban or suburban areas where you need to be cautious and slow down.
  • Peer pressure – many accidents occur because teenage passengers encourage the driver to take risks.
  • Use of alcohol and drugs – teens are inexperienced with alcohol and with drugs and are more likely to use poor judgment or not even realize they are speeding.
  • Low-risk perception – novice drivers lack the knowledge and experience to accurately assess the degree of threat posed by a hazard and overestimate their ability to avoid it, especially when speeding.

Parental involvement with your teens is effective. Discuss how speeding increases the stopping distance needed to avoid an accident since it reduces the time you need to react to a hazard such as a vehicle suddenly turning in front of you, or one that suddenly stops or a pedestrian or bicyclist who steps or rides in a crosswalk. Encourage your teen to use the 3-second rule if following a vehicle to allow enough distance to slow and avoid a rear-end collision.

As a parent, talk to your teen about other driving habits or while you are driving. Point out the speeders on the freeway and how they are endangering other motorists. If you are in a suburban area, show them what hazards are present, including pedestrians, kids, and bicyclists.

You can also discuss insurance and how companies increase premiums with a moving violation. If your teen is working, make them pay for their insurance. For example, a ticket for speeding 20 mph over the posted limit can increase yearly premiums by several thousand dollars. Taking away driving privileges is another punishment that may be effective as well.

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