As a parent or guardian of a teen driver in Minnesota, the prospect of your teen behind the wheel can be scary at first. But it’s also a legitimate concern, especially for those who have just started driving.
Teen drivers are more than ten times more likely to get into a car accident than an adult driver. And that risk is exceptionally high within the first three months of their receiving their license.
The good news is that there are a few steps you can take to minimize the risk they face.
Why is the crash risk highest in the first three months?
There are a handful of increased risk factors for teens versus adult drivers, including:
- Riding with other teens increases the risk of car accidents due to driver distraction.
- Teens are more likely not to wear seatbelts.
- Teens often have lower impulse control and are prone to more reckless behavior.
But the number one reason teens are at higher risk of car accidents is driver inexperience. That inexperience is most pronounced when they recently received their license.
An inexperienced driver doesn’t yet have a mature feel for the relative speeds of their vehicle and the others on the road. As a result, they’ll be less prepared for adverse driving conditions like precipitation or poorly maintained road surfaces. In addition, their decision-making hasn’t been tested and refined by experience.
How can you lessen the risk?
The most helpful thing you can do is give your teen as much supervised practice as possible while they’re on their learner’s permit and right after receiving their license. Riding with your teen and teaching them from your driving experience is invaluable.
Another good idea is putting initial restrictions on their driving privileges in the first three to six months after receiving their license. For example, forbid (or restrict) their driving with teenage passengers or from driving during poor conditions or at night.
The first three months after a teen receives their license can be nerve-wracking. But you do have the power to set your teen up for the best chance of staying out of danger.