Teenage drivers account for more auto accidents than any other age group. According the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 25 percent of accidents involve teenage drivers. This statistic is sobering, especially if you’re a teen driver or the parent of one.

Getting a driver’s license is a huge family milestone and is cause for excitement and celebration. A few precautions can go a long way to ensure this celebration continues well into the future. Here are five vehicle safety tips for parents and teen drivers.

1. Don’t Phone Home

This isn’t just a teen issue. In 2012, over 1.5 million crashes or about one out of four accidents involved cell phones. Did you know texting while driving is six times more dangerous than driving while intoxicated?

That’s right, a texting driver is more dangerous than a drunk driver. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) says it’s because texting involves the three possible types of driving distractions:

  • Mental distractions. This occurs when a driver’s mind isn’t focused on driving.
  • Visual distractions. This happens when a driver looks at anything other than the road ahead.
  • Physical distractions. This is results when a driver takes one or both hands off the wheel.

You could be ticketed for talking on the phone while driving. This varies and depends on the community and the time of day. If you must use your phone, pull over to the side of the road or into a safe parking area, then text or complete your call.

To further minimize distractions, don’t drink, snack, or play with the radio while driving. Ultimately, the easiest thing to do is concentrate on your driving and turn off your phone.

2. Plan Ahead

By planning ahead, you can avoid the temptation to speed, save gas and reduce the likelihood of running late to your next destination. Each year, nearly 40 percent of fatal teen accidents involve speeding. Planning becomes even more significant when a teen is driving on an unfamiliar road. If you’re a new to driving, face it, all roads are unfamiliar to you.

3. Go it Alone

The more people you have in your car, the greater the risk of getting into a car accident. For instance, just having one teen passenger in your car can double your likelihood of causing an accident.

4. Drive Smart and Buckle Up

Teen drivers have the lowest rate of seatbelt use. Sadly, 74,000 young people die or are injured each year by not wearing seat belts.

Driving smart means driving defensively and keeping at least a two second gap between you and the vehicle ahead. Also, scan your mirrors continuously and maintain 360 degree awareness of the traffic around you. Lastly, drive with you lights on, even on sunny days. It helps other drivers see you better.

5. Maintain Your Car

Drive the safest vehicle possible and keep it that way. These days key safety equipment like anti-lock brakes, multiple air bags, and electronic traction and stability control come standard at all price points. So, it really comes down to finding a vehicle with an excellent crash rating and a good safety record. You can research ratings on the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety (IIHS) website by clicking here.

Be proactive and don’t become a statistic. Increase your odds by driving defensively and by keeping your vehicle in top condition. For best results, have your vehicle serviced by an auto mechanic you can trust. If you’re responsible for a teen driver’s car, have your mechanic thoroughly inspect the car’s safety systems before handing them the keys for the first time.

We’re here to help. First Tire & Automotive has been serving the Fort Bend County area since 1988. We now have three convenient locations to serve you better, call us or stop by today.