One of the most memorable moments for any teenager is when they finally get their driver’s license. This always makes parents a little nervous, as thousands of teenagers die in car accidents every year. Hundreds of thousands of teenagers are injured in accidents each year. Parents want to protect their children, but they know they can’t keep them in a bubble forever.
In the state of Virginia, a driver can get their learner’s permit at 15 and a half years old. A driver can get their provisional driver’s license at 16 years and 3 months old. They must have held a learner’s permit for nine months before they can get a provisional license.
Despite having several limitations when possessing a provisional license, there are many mistakes young drivers make when driving the open road the first time.
Young drivers think they’re invincible behind the wheel. The temptation is to drive a little faster than the posted speed limits because they think they can handle it. Young drivers don’t have the discernment to tell how fast they are traveling, and they may think the laws don’t apply to them until they get pulled over or get into a car accident.
There are all kinds of distractions for new drivers. You must pay attention to the road ahead and not get distracted by anything else on the side of the road. You should not apply makeup or eat while driving. Talking to your passengers can also be a major distraction that can lead to an accident.
New drivers tend to take dangerous risks like running red lights or speeding up at a yellow light. They may ignore traffic signs and take many risks.
Texting and Driving
This is one of the biggest issues for both teens and adults. It does not matter if the driver just takes their eyes off the road for one second. Any little distraction could be the moment where a pedestrian or cyclist pulls out when you are not paying attention.
Driving Recklessly in Poor Driving Conditions
During poor weather, inexperienced drivers tend to get in accidents because they don’t properly adjust their driving to inclement road conditions. They do not slow down for black ice. They don’t allow extra space to brake in a snowstorm. When it is dark outside, you don’t want to drive if you have a headlight that is out. Even if a new driver has a vehicle with modern safety features like all-wheel drive or anti-lock brakes, they still need to adjust their driving style in poor weather conditions.
Driving Without Wearing a Seatbelt
Seatbelts are extremely important because they can save lives in an accident. Parents should emphasize the importance of wearing seatbelts so their teens won’t leave the driveway without wearing their seatbelts. Today’s youth have been raised to trust the value of science, and science has proven that seatbelts can prevent serious injuries or death.
Having Too Many People in the Car
The odds of getting into an accident increase when there are more people in the vehicle. It simply makes the driver more distracted which leads to accidents. You should never have more people in the car than there are seatbelts. New drivers don’t have the experience to recognize how other passengers can distract them from driving safely instead of paying attention to the road.
Not Maintaining the Vehicle
It is quite common for new drivers to forget things like getting new tires or getting an oil change. A tire blowout on the interstate can lead to a serious accident, so it is important to know when tires need to be replaced and when the car needs an oil change.
There are other simple maintenance items every driver should know how to check on a vehicle. Every driver should know how to change a tire when they have a flat, and they should know where to go to get the car battery checked. When the brake pads need to be changed, drivers should know how to recognize that familiar squealing noise brakes make when they need maintenance.
Following Too Closely
New drivers tend to be bad about tailgating. Some experts recommend having at least one car length between your car and the vehicle in front of you. The standard is there should be at least a three-second following distance between two vehicles. The faster you are moving, the more distance there should be between two vehicles. By following these standards, you will have some time to react when the car in front of you blows a tire or makes a sudden evasive maneuver. In rear-end accidents, the car in the back is always at fault for following too closely.
Not Adjusting the Mirrors Properly
New drivers tend to be in a hurry to get where they are. Before you start driving, you should always adjust your mirrors to the correct position. If you don’t do this, the driver won’t be able to see cars that come up behind them, and it can also amplify “blind spots”. You should barely see your car at all if your mirrors are properly adjusted.
Drinking While Intoxicated
Even though many new drivers are younger than 21, many people start drinking before the legal age. Most young people are overconfident about their driving skills and abilities. They think a couple of beers won’t impair their driving. Unfortunately, experience shows this couldn’t be further from the truth. 7% of all traffic accidents are related to alcohol use.
Reach Out to a Personal Injury Attorney
If you have been injured in an accident, it is a good idea to speak to a personal injury attorney about the facts of your case. The attorneys at Epperly & Follis have been representing clients in personal injury cases in Richmond and throughout central Virginia since the 1990s. Give them a call today at 804-648-6480 or fill out their contact form to see how they can help.