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Teaching teenagers the rules of the road

April 2, 2014

Although the number of teen deaths stemming from vehicle-related accidents is down, motor vehicle crashes remain the top cause of death for the age group, according to the National Safety Council. More than 4,700 people die in the U.S. each year due to car crashes involving teen drivers. But drivers alone aren't the only ones unsafe, as passengers of young drivers account for 1,191 of those deaths.

The NSC reported that only 59 percent of parents realize the biggest risk to their teenager's safety comes from being behind the wheel. If your teenager is about to embark on the world of driving, make sure to sit down with him or her to talk auto insurance and the potential risks of the road. The NSC reported the most dangerous time of a teen driver's life is the first 12 months of earning their license.

Teenagers learn the most about driving from experienced drivers.

Learning skills on the road

Sixteen-year-old drivers have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age. The crash rate per mile is astonishing, as drivers that age are twice as likely to be in a crash compared to drivers 18 or 19 years old. A teen driver's crash risk is three times that of drivers ages 20 and older, which is mostly because experienced drivers are safer drivers.

There is no substitute for practice. The only way teenage drivers will ever learn safe and proper road techniques is by actually driving. In order to reduce some of these risks for new drivers, parents should stay involved with their children's driving habits even after their teenager receives their license. When parents ride with licensed teen drivers for 30 minutes each week, it helps teens keep safe habits at the forefront. NSC reported teens get better at driving when they are coached by an experienced driver.

Limiting the number of passengers in a car

If your teenage child recently received a license, you might want to consider limiting how many people can be in the car with them when they are driving unsupervised.

Car pools are good for the environment, but not for unexperienced drivers. A single teen passenger increases a teen driver's crash risk by 44 percent, according to the NSC. A pair of passengers doubles the fatal crash risk. Three or more passengers quadruples the crash risk. It also doesn't matter if passengers are friends or family. The same statistics hold true when a teenage driver counts siblings as passengers.