Young people, particularly teens, are at a greater risk of being injured or killed in car accidents in Tennessee. According to the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO), 2,785 distracted driving crashes involving teen drivers occurred statewide between November 1, 2020, and October 31, 2021. Between January 2020 and December 2021, 602 teenage drivers were involved in a death or serious injury crash. Here are five safety tips for teen drivers in Tennessee:
1. Learn About Distracted Driving
When hearing the phrase “distracted driving,” most people think of texting or talking on the phone while driving. However, practically anything can become a distraction if it interferes with a person’s ability to focus on the road. It’s imperative to discuss with your teen how to prevent the following dangerous driving habits:
- Eating / snacking while driving
- Putting on makeup / fixing your hair
- Listening to loud music
- Driving while in a heightened emotional state (angry, stressed, etc.)
- Driving with loud, talkative, or otherwise distracting passengers
All of the above behaviors can take a driver’s attention away from the road.
2. Always Wear Your Seatbelt
Wearing a seatbelt can be the difference between a minor vehicle accident and a tragic one. Whether you’re a passenger or the driver, make it a habit to never leave the house without fastening your seatbelt. Most accidents occur close to home when familiarity gives us a false sense of security. Always strap up, whether you’re traveling 5 miles or 500. While you’re at it, make it a habit to check that everyone in the car is wearing a seatbelt before you depart.
3. Be A Defensive Driver
While some incidents are unavoidable, the great majority can be avoided when drivers practice defensive driving. In a word, defensive driving entails treating other motorists the way you want to be treated. You can encourage teen drivers to drive safely by taking the following steps:
- Do not tailgate. Follow the 3-second rule, leaving at least 3 seconds between you and the vehicle ahead of you. This provides you more time to respond if you come to a sudden stop.
- Do not speed. There are speed limits in place for a reason. The faster you drive, the more devastating an accident can be.
- Check your mirrors frequently. Your eyes should be on the road ahead of you first and foremost, but you should also be aware of your surroundings. Regularly inspect your rearview and side mirrors.
4. No Impaired Driving
According to a 2020 poll by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 47.1 percent of all young adults in Tennessee aged 18 to 20 confessed to drinking in the previous month.
While drinking while driving is risky at any age, teenagers are especially vulnerable to the intoxicating effects of alcohol, which include slowed reaction times and impaired reasoning. Teen drinking and driving are hazardous when combined with inexperience behind the wheel.
5. Be Aware of Weather Conditions
The weather in Tennessee may change in the blink of an eye, which is why it’s critical to instill in your teen the practice of checking the weather forecast before leaving the house. Checking the weather forecast can assist them in preparing an emergency grab pack that is best suited for rainy, windy, foggy, or frosty weather conditions.
Instill in them the habit of walking around the car to check for low tires, windows that need to be cleaned to increase visibility, and other potential safety hazards. A fast glance can mean the difference between averting a flat tire, missing something in a blind zone, or having a car part fly off and cause an accident.
We hope you enjoyed reading and learning these safety tips for teen drivers in Tennessee. If you have been involved in an accident and suffered injuries due to someone else’s aggressive driving, contact our office for a FREE and confidential consultation, and we will evaluate your case at no charge to you. Our firm works on a contingency fee basis, meaning there is no cost unless compensation has been obtained through a settlement or verdict.
Stay safe out there. Because we care…
Tennessee Accident Attorneys