By Pendergast Law on July 13, 2018
For teenagers, few things are more exciting than getting their hands on their very own driver’s license. The freedom of the open road, no more begging mom and dad for rides, the ability to impress their friends, and the independence of being able to get away from the parental units for a while…we all remember these wonderful things.
But statistics tell a darker story. They point to the fact that teenagers are an at-risk group for car crashes, especially during the summer. Memorial Day is the start of what’s known as “The 100 Deadliest Days”of driving for teenagers.
Traffic experts attribute this rise to inexperienced drivers getting behind the wheel with lots of distractions. The summer season draws out teens and their friends, resulting in large groups of people in cars, more distractions, and more partying, which can result in late-night driving, speeding, and ultimately more accidents.
Washington State Patrol trooper Chase Van Cleave told Fox Q13, “The reason it’s called the 100 deadly days is because studies have shown, consistently, that new teen drivers are in fact three times more likely to be in a fatal accident than the other 265 days of the year.”
How Can I Stay Safe?
Inexperienced drivers have a higher chance of getting involved in a car crash. Teenagers, as first-time drivers, have that scary combination of inexperience and a brain going through growing pains, which may lead to worse motor skills and unnecessary risk-taking. Teens can only get better at driving with time. In the meantime, parents of teens should be focused on discouraging teens from risky behaviors like driving and texting, or driving while under the influence of any substance, from alcohol to marijuana.
Studies show that parents who are involved with their teen’s driving reduce their risk of a collision dramatically. Parents can do this by monitoring their kids while in the car with them, and encouraging good driving behaviors and habits to form.
A tragic car crash can change the course of your life forever. Many crashes can be prevented, but it often starts at home. To thwart the dangers of teen driving, parents need to lead by example. Too often parents go by “Do as I say, not as I do.”It’s imperative to present a good example by not using your cellphone or speeding.
As parents, it’s important to remind your kids of the following:
- If they are at a social gathering with friends, to take an Uber/Lyft/cab to avoid drowsy or impaired driving. Or volunteer to drive them to and from the event yourself.
- Stress to them the importance of not fiddling with music and navigation apps while driving. Encourage them to program everything before starting the car.
- Encourage your children to mute their phones while driving. Try not to call and text during these times. It will be too distracting for them.
- Remind your kids of the basics, such as: don’t drink and drive, keep a distance between you and the car in front, stay alert, always wear a seatbelt, pull over if you’re tired, and watch out for pedestrians.
What to Do If You Get Into an Accident
Accidents happen to the best drivers. Remind your children of what to do should they find themselves in the unfortunate situation of a car collision:
- Stay calm and move out of the street if possible.
- Get medical help, or call an ambulance if necessary.
- Gather witness contact information.
- Call the police so they can come to the scene and file a report.
- Collect the other driver’s information and take photos.
- Call you right afterward.
- Call a lawyer.
If your teenager has been involved in a collision and sustained injuries, you’re probably pretty shaken up. You want to make everything all better. You might feel overwhelmed trying to figure out how to gather evidence and whether you should pursue a claim against the other driver’s insurance company. If that’s you, it’s important to hire a knowledgeable attorney to examine your case.
For a free consultation, please contact Hardwick & Pendergast, P.S., at 888-539-9211. Not every fender bender deserves a lawsuit, but everyone could use a little guidance in a stressful situation. We can investigate what happened and let you know if there’s compensation available, and help you get it if need be. There’s no fee unless we’re successful on your behalf.