Driving is a milestone for teenagers on their road to maturity. It’s a sign of trust and freedom. However, Ohio was rated one of the worst states for teenage drivers in a study by WalletHub. A combination of factors can make crashes more likely. Understanding these crashes and why they happen can help parents prepare their teens to get on the road safely.
Learn more about the risks teens face behind the wheel and what to do after a crash.
How Safe Is it for Teen Drivers in Ohio?
In 2022, the Ohio State Highway Patrol reported 290 fatalities from youth-related crashes. There were 296 in 2021 and 276 in 2020. Fatal crashes were more likely to happen in the summer months.
Some of these crashes involved alcohol or drugs. Many were caused by traffic incidents, like ignoring rights-of-way or running stoplights. Some crashes involved more than one teen, but not all were fatal. In fact, most of the crashes involving teens only caused property damage. But several still caused injuries, from minor to severe.
What Causes Crashes for Teenage Drivers?
Car accidents are unexpected. Some factors can make them more likely to happen, especially if drivers aren’t exercising caution when they should be. Young drivers aren’t the only ones on the road in crashes, but there are some reasons they’ll be more likely to be in a crash.
Inexperience Behind the Wheel
Driving is more than getting from one place to another. Once you’re behind the wheel, you have to pay attention to the road and other drivers.
Although teens may have watched their parents and other drivers operate on the road, they don’t have the same life experience or training to handle unexpected events while behind the wheel. Many drivers start learning to drive about six months before they’re eligible for a driver’s license at 16 years of age.
Distractions In and Out of the Car
When operating a car, you must pay attention to hazards, obstructions, other cars, and anything that may cause a crash. Teen drivers may lose focus if they have friends in the car or if something distracts them from driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported there were more than 3,500 deaths in 2021 caused by distracted driving. A crash can happen within three seconds of taking your eyes off the road, so distractions caused by passengers can be deadly for teens.
Unexpected Conditions Create Uncertainty
Crashes can happen in clear conditions but are more likely to happen in inclement weather or unexpected road conditions. For instance, standing water on a road may cause a car to hydroplane. Unless they’ve been taught how to maneuver when skidding, it’s easy for teens to panic.
Other conditions can cause teen drivers to panic, leading to a likely crash.
Teens Take Risks
Teens are still learning. You might prepare them as best you can, but they may make risky decisions. A teen driver may think that speeding gets them to their destination quicker without thinking about the possibility of a crash. They may assume they’ll be fine if they drive too fast or take turns too quickly.
Unfortunately, those lessons sometimes have tragic consequences.
How Can I Teach My Teen Safe Driving?
Safe driving is a skill that must be taught and demonstrated. As wonderful as it would be for every teen to drive cautiously, kids will be kids. Parents shouldn’t have to scare their kids into better driving, but helping them prepare for this new stage of independence can save you money and tragedy.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Many scenarios can give new drivers anxiety, especially if they don’t feel like they know how to handle them. Giving your teen more time behind the wheel, with supervision, can help them learn how to approach situations they haven’t faced yet. Provide advice, ask them if they have questions, and support them.
Explain What You’re Doing Behind the Wheel
Even when you’re the one driving, you can have teachable moments. You can explain your decisions and your thought process so your teen understands what’s going on and how they can adapt it to their driving practices. Take the time to talk them through what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
Live What You Preach
As cliched as it sounds, “monkey see, monkey do” can have devastating consequences if a teen driver sees you driving irresponsibly. For instance, if you’re telling your teen to keep a safe distance behind other drivers while you’re tailgating, you’re not setting a good example. Your kids notice how you act, so you can encourage safe driving by being a safe driver.
What to Do After a Car Crash with a Teen Driver
Even with extensive training, an accident can still happen. You should prepare your teen by explaining what they should do if they are in a crash. It’s better for them to know and not need these steps than to not know and do need them.
First, they should call emergency responders. Your teen needs to be evaluated for any possible injuries for their health and any possible insurance claims. Tell your teen to get photos or videos of the crash.
They need to share their contact information and your insurance policy with any other driver in the crash. Let them know they shouldn’t admit any fault for the crash: just give the other driver their name, contact information, and insurance policy. The same applies to any law enforcement that responds to the crash: just the facts, not admittance of fault.
After the police have been called, they should call you next. Once you ensure they’re okay, you should contact a car accident injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer for My Teen’s Car Accident?
Insurance claims can be tricky, especially when you’re working on behalf of your child. If you weren’t there at the time of the accident, you’re getting the details from your teen. They may be worried about how you’ll react, or they could be suffering extended trauma because of the crash. A lawyer can help you get the best result after a car crash.
An experienced personal injury lawyer understands how harrowing car crashes are, especially for young drivers. They can investigate the crash and deal with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Even though it’s believed that insurance companies operate for their customers’ benefit, the reality is much more nuanced than that. Insurance companies are profit-driven. They are reluctant to make payouts.
A lawyer improves your chances of getting compensation after your teenager’s car crash. They’ll help you build your claim and negotiate a settlement.
Call an Ohio Car Accident Lawyer Today
Letting your teenager behind the wheel is an important decision and a sign of their growing independence. It’s understandable that you might hesitate to let them get their license, but you can prepare yourself and your teen. The car accident lawyers at Kademenos, Wisehart, Hines, Dolyk & Wright Co. LPA understand why you might be cautious, and we’re in your corner if you ever need a personal injury lawyer after your teen is in a crash.
Attorney Kyle Wright has helped countless car accident injury victims recover the compensation they need to heal financially and physically. We’re ready to hear your case and get started on your teen driving accident today.