Winter in Maine often brings snowy weather and icy roads. While treacherous winter conditions are dangerous for everyone, winter weather driving can be especially dangerous for teens who may not have the experience to handle adverse road conditions. Teens may also be at greater risk of accidents in the winter because they spend more time on the roads, coming home from college for example or going to parties with their friends over the holidays.
As parents, the holiday season presents a good time to go over some safe driving rules and to help to ensure your teen makes smart choices when driving. Our Portland injury lawyers urge every parent to understand the risks of teen driving and to take the time over the holidays to have a discussion with the young driver in your family.
Teen Driving Risks in Maine
While many teens can’t wait to get their license and really enjoy driving, the sad fact is that driving or being in the car with other teen drivers is very risky for young people. In fact, CDC reports indicate that car accidents are the number one cause of teenage death for those between the ages of 16 and 19.
While teen driving is dangerous everywhere, the Maine Teen Driving website indicates that the risks to teen drivers in Maine may be especially great. According to Maine Teen Driving:
- One out of every five drivers ages 16 and 17 will become involved in a car accident over the course of a year.
- The number of teens who get into car crashes is more than five times greater than the average rate of auto accidents for all drivers.
- Almost 40 percent of car accidents involve drivers ages 16-24.
- Although young adults ages 18 to 24 represent only 10 percent of the population in Maine, people in this age group account for ¼ of hospitalizations in Maine caused by car wrecks.
This information demonstrates that both teens and young adults in Maine have a higher chance of becoming involved in a car wreck than the general population of drivers. Some of this may have to do with the fact that teens tend to be more likely to engage in riskier behavior behind the wheel, such as drunk driving, drowsy driving or distracted driving. However, some of the accidents may also be caused by teens who do not know or understand driving rules or who do not understand how to react in a given driving situation.
Talking To Your Teen About Safe Driving
As a parent, it is important to take the time to talk to your teenage driver about how to be safe behind the wheel. Some things you should discuss include:
- The dangers of distracted driving and the importance of never using your cell phone when driving.
- The risks of speeding, tailgating, failure to yield and other aggressive behaviors.
- The importance of driving at a speed that is safe for current conditions on the road, even if the speed limit is technically higher.
The Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles also has a Driving Contact available for new drivers and their parents that you may wish to have your teen sign in order to discourage bad driving behavior that increases the risk of teen driving accidents.
If you are the victim of a Portland driving accident, contact us at 1-800-490-5218 or read more on our website.
Portland Injury Attorneys Wishing You a Safe Thanksgiving, Maine Injury Lawyer Blog, November 19, 2012.