For most teens, getting their full license is a mark of pride and a big step on the way to becoming a fully fledged adult. However, as a parent you have an important role in making sure your teenager is a safe and responsible driver before they hit the roads.
It's an unfortunate fact that younger drivers tend to be more at risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. According to the The George Institute Young Driver Fact Base, injury is the single biggest cause of death in Australian youth and 45 per cent of these fatalities are due to road crashes.
Hospital data for young Australians supports this statement, with drivers involved in a road traffic incident making up almost half the amount of hospitalisations in this group. Young drivers between 17-25 years of age make up one-quarter of all Australian road deaths, but they represent just 10-15 per cent of the total number of licensed drivers in Australia.
Males in the 17-25 year old age group are also more at risk than females. One-third of all speeding drivers and passengers involved in fatal crashes are males in this category, compared to 6 per cent of females.
To beat the statistics and ensure the safety of your teen and other road users, teaching responsible driving habits is essential. If you're unsure how to get started, here are some basics you don't want to miss out the next time you take your teen for a lesson behind the wheel.
Driving safety tips
First and foremost, your teen needs to have a good grasp of the safety rules in order to avoid a crash. As you teach your teenager how to drive, park, reverse and turn, make sure you're drilling them in the basic safety principles throughout the process.
For example, blind spots can be a significant cause of road crashes and they are slightly different for every vehicle. Your teen should be able to identify where the blind spots are and know how to check them before moving in and out of lanes.
Give way rules are another big factor. Your teen needs to understand who has the right of way in any given situation before they attempt to tackle roundabouts and intersections, and you should also check that they are indicating appropriately.
Hazards can arise from anywhere on the road, whether it's another vehicle, a pedestrian stepping out into traffic or something else. Encourage your teen to practise looking well ahead, behind and at the sides of the car at regular intervals. This will help them extend their vision and potentially pick up any hazards before they can pose a greater danger.
With enough knowledge and practise, your teen can hopefully avoid having to put their ctp green slip insurance to use and reduce the risk of a crash.
Behavioural risk factors
The other factor that comes into play with young drivers is behavioural issues. Speeding is a major risk in many crashes and it tends to be more prevalent in younger drivers. Alcohol use is another hazard affecting drivers at every age, but younger people have less years of experience behind the wheel and the consequences can be more severe.
Lastly, distractions can throw even the best drivers off and young people may find it more difficult to concentrate when there's music playing, an interesting roadside advertisement or if they have passengers in the back.
Your teen needs to know what not to do in these situations and how to ensure the safety of their own vehicle's occupants and others on the road. Being a responsible driver is about avoiding or reducing risks while behind the wheel.