Why “good kids” still make dangerous teen drivers

People often make the mistake of assuming that “bad kids” end up becoming bad drivers. They hear about teenagers who drive recklessly or text behind the wheel, and they assume these children break rules, refuse to listen to authority and care about no one but themselves. They assume they’re irresponsible, uneducated and careless.

While that certainly may be true in some cases — many adult drivers also fit this profile — experts warn that the real issue for most teens is simple: They lack experience. This means that “good” kids can absolutely become bad drivers.

Hours on the road

Before getting a driver’s license, teens need significant experience. They take classes. They take tests. They drive with instructors. They drive with their parents. Those who fail the road test may take it multiple times. When they eventually get on the road, it is not their first time behind the wheel.

That said, teens still have far less experience than adult drivers. Just your morning and afternoon commute may give you hours of experience every single week. If you have worked that job for the last decade, you have probably logged thousands of hours on the road with that one route alone.

Teens simply do not have that luxury. They are the most inexperienced drivers you can find. They must put in those hours to gain experience.

Learning from mistakes

The value of experience — in all of life, not just driving — is that you can make mistakes and learn from them. A rock climber who falls learns to look for better holds. An employee who gets fired learns to be a better worker. A driver who gets into an accident learns to be a better driver.

The problem is that the consequences of these mistakes are so high for young drivers. Some get into minor accidents, walk away and learn important lessons. Others get in major accidents that take lives or leave them and others with disabilities and life-changing injuries.

They may also learn important lessons in those accidents, but the damage is already done.

A lack of experience leads to 75 percent of teen accidents

According to one study, about 75 percent of all serious accidents involving teenage drivers — three out of every four — happen because the teenagers suffer from inexperience. This leads to three common errors that cause about half of those wrecks:

  • Speeding or driving too quickly for the roadway conditions
  • Not scanning the road properly
  • Getting distracted by something other than driving

Drivers may learn not to do these things as the years go by, but many of them cause serious accidents along the way. If you suffer injuries in one of these wrecks, make sure you understand all your legal options.

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