Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Keeping Teenage Drivers Safe on New Jersey Roads

The Fairfield Police Department was recently contacted by Sally Keys, a concerned citizen, who wanted our department to help spread the word about the many dangers that young drivers face. She provided the following article which we gladly publish and support and hope that young drivers and their parents take the time to read.

 

Car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 16 and 20 in New Jersey.  An astonishing 47,960 car crashes in 2009 involved teenage drivers, equating to a teen driver crashing their car every 10 minutes in the State.  Despite representing as little as 6% of all licensed drivers in New Jersey, teenage motorists are involved in 13% of all car accidents.  Even though these harrowing statistics prove that they present a significant risk, many teen drivers are law-abiding and very responsible. It is of vital importance to awaken a sense of cautiousness in every young driver as it could mean the difference between life and death on the road.

For many teenagers, learning to drive comes as an important rite of passage. Having a license tucked away in your wallet opens many doors for a teenage or young adult, often to the absolute horror of their parents. As a parent, you need to play and active and crucial role in your child’s driving lessons. Here are a handful of driving tips to share with young drivers to encourage them to be safer and better behind the wheel.

Put Your Phone Away

Being on your phone while driving, whether you are texting or talking creates a huge physical, cognitive and visual distraction that leads to unsafe driving. Young drivers need to learn to switch off their phones before starting the car or at least put them away out of reach. If they need to use the phone they have to pull over and park. Research has shown that every time a driver sends a text message, his eyes leave the road for an average of 4.6 seconds: enough time to drive the length of a football field.

Don’t Exceed the Speed Limit

Speed is a big contributor to accidents involving young drivers. Teens often need to be reminded that there is no pressure on them to keep up with the other vehicles in traffic. Sticking to the speed limit will not only reduce the risk of an accident but it will help them to avoid hefty traffic fines that can affect their vehicle insurance premiums.

Don’t Drink and Drive

While many people try to avoid the subject of drugs and alcohol, ignoring it will not make the problem go away. Even the smallest amount of an alcoholic beverage in the bloodstream of an inexperienced driver can negatively influence their driving ability, not to mention that it is also illegal.  There is a reason why a minimum drinking age has been implemented but sadly many car crash victims are still found to be under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs. There is no grey area when it comes to this. If you drink, don’t drive!

Don’t Drive When You are Tired

While many teenagers are responsible enough to avoid drinking and driving some do not always realize that driving while tired can be just as dangerous. Lethargy impairs your attention, coordination skills and working memory, all of which are crucial for driving. Falling asleep behind the wheel will almost always end in a tragedy.

Learning to drive and subsequently getting a driver’s license should be a time of great excitement for a teenager. If good habits are instilled from the get-go and responsible driving is practiced, parental tension and worry can make way for trust and admiration. It is impossible to protect children from all of life’s hardships but raising them to be responsible individuals will go a long way in keeping them out of harm’s way.

 

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