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8 Danger Zones for Teen Drivers

Six teens a day are killed in car crashes. Make sure your young driver is aware of the leading causes of teen crashes. Then use a parent-teen driving agreement to put rules in place that will help your teen stay safe.

Talk with Your Teen about These 8 Danger Zones

1. Driver Inexperience.

Crash risk is highest in the first year a teen has their license.

What Parents Can Do

  • Provide at least 30 to 50 hours of supervised driving practice over at least six months.

  • Practice on a variety of roads, at different times of day, and in varied weather and traffic conditions.

  • Stress the importance of continually scanning for potential hazards including other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

2. Driving with Teen Passengers.

Crash risk goes up when teens drive with other teens in the care.

What Parents Can Do

  • Follow your state’s Graduated Driver Licensing system for passenger restrictions. If your state doesn’t have such a rule, limit the number of teen passengers your teen can have to zero or one.

  • Keep this rule for at least the first six months that your teen is driving.

3. Nighttime Driving.

For all ages, fatal crashes are more likely to occur at night, but the risk is higher for teens.

What Parents Can Do

  • Make sure your teen is off the road by 9 or 10 p.m. for at least the first six months of licensed driving.

  • Practice nighttime driving with your teen when you think they are ready.

4. Not Using Seatbelts.

The simplest way to prevent car crash deaths is to buckle up.

What Parents Can Do

  • Require your teen to wear a seat belt on every trip. This simple step can reduce your teen’s risk of dying or being badly injured in a crash by about half.

5. Distracted Driving.

Distractions increase your teen’s risk of being in a crash.

What Parents Can Do

  • Don’t allow activities that may take your teen’s attention away from driving, such as talking on a cell phone, texting, eating or playing with the radio.

  • Learn more about distracted driving.

6. Drowsy Driving.

Young drivers are at high risk for drowsy driving, which causes thousands of crashes every year. Teens are most tired and at risk when driving in the early morning or late at night.

What Parents Can Do

  • Know your teen’s schedule so you can be sure he or she is well rested before getting behind the wheel.

7. Reckless Driving.

Research shows that teens lack the experience, judgment and maturity to assess risky situations.

What Parents Can Do

  • Make sure your teen knows to follow the speed limit and adjust their speed to match road conditions.

  • Remind your teen to maintain enough space behind the vehicle ahead to avoid a crash in case of a sudden stop.

8. Impaired Driving.

Even one drink will impair your teen’s driving ability and increase their risk of a crash.

What Parents Can Do