In the state of Tennessee, young people, particularly teenagers, are at a high risk of being injured or killed in car accidents. According to the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO), between January 2018 and April 2020 more than 700 serious and fatal car crashes statewide involved a teenage driver.
In light of National Youth Traffic Safety Month, Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys has compiled this list of teen driving safety tips for young drivers and their parents to help prevent Tennessee traffic accidents.
#1: Educate Yourself About Distracted Driving
When most people think of distracted driving, they think of texting and driving or talking on your phone. But almost anything can become a distraction if it interferes with your ability to focus on the road. Talk to your teen about avoiding the following behaviors while behind the wheel:
- Eating while driving
- Putting on makeup / fixing your hair
- Listening to loud music / fiddling with the radio
- Driving while in a heightened emotional state (angry, stressed, etc.)
- Driving with loud, talkative, or otherwise distracting passengers
All of these behaviors can take a driver’s attention away from the road, whether it’s a visual, mental, or physical distraction. Just a few moments of inattention can lead to a car, pedestrian, or bicycle accident.
#2: Always Wear Your Seatbelt
Wearing a seatbelt can mean the difference between a car accident with no injuries and a fatal one. Whether you are a passenger or the driver, make it a habit not to leave without putting on a seatbelt—ever. Most accidents happen near home, when we’re lulled into a false sense of security by familiarity. Whether you’re driving 5 miles or 500, always buckle up.
While you’re at it, get into the habit of making sure all passengers are wearing seatbelts before you leave.
#3: Practice Defensive Driving
There are some accidents that may be unavoidable, but the vast majority are preventable when drivers engage in defensive driving. In a nutshell, defensive driving means treating other cars on the road how you’d like to be treated. You can promote teen driving safety with the following actions:
- Don’t tailgate. You should always stay at least two seconds behind any vehicle ahead of you. This gives you more time to react to an unexpected stop.
- Don’t speed. Speed limits exist for a reason. The faster you’re going, the more deadly a potential accident can be.
- Check your mirrors frequently. First and foremost your eyes should be on the road in front of you, but it’s also important to be aware of your other surroundings. Check your rear view mirror and side mirrors regularly.
#4: Don’t Drive Impaired
A 2018 survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that 33.4% of all young adults age 18 to 20 admitted to using alcohol in the previous month in Tennessee.
While drinking and driving is dangerous at any age, teenagers are particularly prone to the intoxicating effects of alcohol, including reduced reaction time and compromised reasoning skills. Combined with inexperience behind the wheel, teen drinking and driving is incredibly dangerous.
Talk to your teenager about the hazards of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or when sleepy. Consider setting up an agreement in which they can call you anytime they need a ride home, no questions asked.
Was Your Teen Injured in a Car Accident? Contact Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys
At Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys, we care about teen driving safety. However, if your teenager was injured in a car accident through no fault of their own, whether as a driver or a passenger, your family could be entitled to compensation.
Contact our Nashville personal injury team by calling 615-333-8888. Alternatively, you can talk with a representative using our LiveChat feature or submit the details of your case using our contact form. Consultations are free, and there’s no fee unless we make a recovery on your behalf.