Excitable teens often tend to be careless, thus giving meaning to the term youthful arrogance. With this comes overconfidence, which can often show in their driving capabilities. According to a survey by the Foundation for Traffic Safety, teenage drivers between the ages of 16 and 17 accounted for almost twice the number of accidents as their 18- and 19-year-old counterparts.
What age group are the safest drivers?
Contrary to popular belief, The Foundation For Traffic Safety found that drivers between the ages of 60 and 69 were among the safest. Their survey data also showed that accidents tend to reduce markedly after the age of 30. With these figures, it’s safe to say that the youngest drivers are also the most vulnerable to accidents.
One way that parents can safeguard themselves from significant financial liability is by getting car insurance from a reputed provider like GEICO. If you don’t have one yet, it may help to check out a GEICO auto insurance review or two to help you make up your mind.
What driving mistakes will affect your insurance premiums?
That said, let’s look at some of the common mistakes that teenage drivers make, which could cost you a lot of money.
1. Distracted Driving
Studies show that around 50% of teens admitted to driving and talking on their phones. Furthermore, 89% of the same group said they witnessed fellow teen drivers doing the same, while roughly half of them saw their friends texting while driving.
But using a phone isn’t the only way that teens get distracted behind the wheel. Some may take the overconfidence to the next level and eat or drink, adjust the radio or in-car music system, play loud music, or simply stare out of the car window without stopping the car. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that not keeping your eyes on the road could be catastrophic. This is also why it’s one of the most important lessons taught in driving schools.
2. Overcrowded Car
Let’s face it: Teenagers could have a lot of friends. When your son or daughter has a car, it’s more likely they’ll use it to meet their friends or come back from school. But packing in more people than a car can handle can lead to disastrous consequences. With so many packed in the car, They may neglect basic safety principles, such as wearing a seat belt, following traffic rules, or maintaining the legal speed limit.
3. Poor Maintenance of Cars
Buying the right car is crucial in ensuring it runs smoothly. But regardless of the kind of car you buy, it will begin to show problems if it isn’t maintained properly. Some teenagers may prefer appearance over safety features.
By this, we mean opting for an expensive in-car infotainment system instead of a collision avoidance system. This is mostly for visual appeal and budgetary reasons, as some safety add-ons could cost more to include in a new car. While most cars sold today come with nationally mandated safety standards, these features are basically useless if your car is in poor shape.
Proper maintenance includes taking care of the vehicle when not in use. This could range from checking the tire pressure to making sure your vehicle is serviced on top. Every car needs a refill of lubricants to continue functioning smoothly. Ignoring this could lead to disaster.
From 2022 onwards, features like emergency stop signals, advanced driver distraction warning systems, alcohol interlock installation, and intelligent speed assistance are compulsory for all motor vehicles (including vans and trucks) in the U.K.
4. Drunk Driving
The legal drinking age in the U.K. is 18. However, teenagers aged 16 or 17 can technically consume alcohol as long as they’re accompanied by an adult and are not buying it on their own.
However, it’s no secret that many teenagers drink alcohol in social settings where there’s no parental supervision. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs can severely diminish decision-making and is basically an accident waiting to happen.
Since teenagers are usually aware that they could land in trouble for drinking or doing drugs, they would be hesitant to call their parents to pick them up. As a consequence, teens begin to consider that taking risks may be the safest option. Driving under the influence also reduces the ability to make safety-related decisions, such as wearing seat belts or driving within the speed limit.
5. Driving Too Fast
This also falls under the youthful arrogance category, but speeding is one of the most common causes of accidents around the world. It’s a given that the faster your car goes, the harder it gets to control it. So if the car is too fast and there’s a curve up ahead, it’s almost impossible to control where the car goes or deal with obstacles on the road that could take you by surprise. Trying to swerve away at over 60 mph is always risky. Rain, fog, or snow can also make driving quite tricky, thus making it doubly risky to go over the speed limit.
When can you get a provisional license in the UK?
In the UK, teenagers can sign up for a provisional driving license when they’re at least 15 years and 9 months old. Teenagers can officially start driving a car when they’re 17. Speed limit differs based on where you are in the U.K. For instance, teenagers in England, Scotland, and Wales who are driving with the L plate have the same speed limits as those who pass the driving test. But in Northern Ireland, the speed limit for learners is 45 miles per hour.
The Bottom Line
Each repair costs a lot of money, so it’s imperative that your teen understands the risks involved in dangerous driving and its immediate consequences. As we’ve illustrated above, taking undue risks on the road can be fatal.
But let’s also remember that minor accidents—such as a slow-speed rear-end vehicle collision—are common and can happen to the best of us. We recommend getting learner insurance for your teenager to protect yourself from financial liability in case of minor accidents. Help your child practice safe driving habits and remind them to never drive under the influence.
And once they are ready to start driving, you may be looking for the cheapest car to insure for them
James Banerjee is an Account Director who graduated from the University of Kent in 2014. He works in SEO on clients such as HSBC UK and Nestle and he has a keen interest in personal finances and money-saving advice.