According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, distracted driving proved to be the most significant factor in teen drivers’ having crashes or near-miss situations. Compared to when they weren’t distracted by performing other tasks, teen drivers demonstrated significantly increased likelihood for accidents when they were engaged in three particular types of behaviors:
• Reaching for a phone or another object (7 to 8 times as likely)
• Texting (nearly 4 times as likely)
• Eating (3 times as likely).
Passengers Increase the Risk for Crashes
Another major factor is the presence of passengers. According to some data, crash risk increases for teen drivers with every teen passenger added to the vehicle.
Not only can parents help alleviate this risk by restricting their teen driver from driving with teen passengers (even if the state law allows it), but they can also help equip their teens to be responsible passengers — both when an adult is driving and when the driver is another teen.
Be an Extra Set of Eyes
Even if you’re not the one driving, you can help notice potential hazards such as oncoming vehicles or pedestrians. If you’re in the front passenger seat, you can move out the way so that the driver can see out the passenger side window or look in the right-side mirror. You can also help read directions or navigate to the destination.
There is a fine line between being helpful and being the infamous “back seat driver” that no one likes. Just keep your opinions to yourself, speaking up only if you suspect the driver isn’t aware of a potential problem.
Help Reduce Stress
If you do cross the line and become a “back seat driver,” you can actually add to the driver’s stress and increase the chances of being involved in a crash. Even if you do think the situation warrants your involvement, you need to speak up in a controlled way. You can help the driver stay calm by remaining calm yourself.
Influence the Group
Because the greater the number of passengers = the greater the risk, it’s important for all passengers to realize the risks. By encouraging other passengers to keep calm, making sure the music is turned down, and continuing to be a good passenger yourself, you can help reduce the potential impact of more passengers.
We all know the risks associated with texting or talking on the phone while driving, but even passengers using electronics can distract drivers. Not only does a distracted passenger fail to assist the driver, but a phone conversation or screen can easily distract the driver’s attention, as well.
By teaching your teen how to be a good passenger, you can help further reduce the chances of his or her being involved in a motor vehicle crash.
The Nicholas Insurance Agency, led by Greg Nicholas, is a family owned business serving the York county, Pennsylvania region. In the insurance business since 1981, Greg Nicholas helps families, businesses and individuals understand the value of different insurance products and make wise decisions when selecting the best insurance products for their specific situations.
Offering exclusively Allstate insurance products, the Nicholas Agency provides auto, homeowners, rental and landlord insurance as well as life & disability, recreational vehicle, motorcycle and personal liability insurance.
For more information, visit our two York, PA locations at Westgate Plaza or York Marketplace or call us at (717) 764-2024.
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