What more parents need to start doing for new drivers
If you’re the parent of a new driver you have a responsibility to help your child become a responsible road user, in order to help curb the current high road death toll.
There is no better teacher than experience. This is true for new drivers who are less equipped to react to or avoid dangerous situations. International statistics estimate six young drivers are killed in crashes every day. The CDC says this means that while 15 to 24 year olds only make up 14% of the US population, they account for 30% of the costs of crashes in males and 28% of females.
Inexperience means teen drivers often underestimate the danger of risky driving and thus are more likely to engage in it. The MD of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, says excessive speed is a major contributing factor in teen crashes. “Approximately 35% of teen crashes occur while the driver is speeding.
“Additionally, teens also leave smaller following distances. The slower reactions of teens combined with shorter spaces in which to react, is a dangerous combination. It is up to the instructors to emphasis the deadly danger speeding poses,” says Herbert.
The mark of an experienced driver is their ability to assess the traffic ahead of them. New drivers tend to focus on road markings and vehicles directly ahead of them rather than a few seconds ahead of them like experienced drivers. It is important to transfer this ability to new drivers so they learn to react before it is too late.
Lack of experience also means new drivers do not possess skills to react to potentially dangerous situations. “New drivers often overestimate their driving ability and their ability to react appropriately. This is why learning to drive defensively is essential. These drivers are aware of every object on or near the road and foresee problems before they happen.”
Another potentially difficult area for new drivers is driving during harsh weather conditions. Be sure to spend time practising in bad weather. It is vital to learn when to adjust speed and how to drive on wet roads or in heavy wind.
The instructors of new drivers are responsible for ensuring safe driving behaviour amongst new drivers. “Building a culture where safe driving receives utmost attention will be easier if it becomes an ingrained habit with new drivers,” concludes Herbert.