What are the Odds?
- In the first year of driving, approximately 35% (some insurance agencies claim 50%) of new drivers will have an accident.
- 16-year-old drivers are 20 times as likely to have a car accident as the general driving public.
- 17-year-old drivers are 6 times as likely to have a car accident as the general driving public.
- Having just 1 passenger in the car with you as a new driver doubles your chance of an accident while 2 or more passengers increases your chance of accident 5 fold.
- Over a lifetime of driving, your chance of being killed behind the wheel is 1 in 84, but the greatest chance of that happening is between the ages of 16 and 19.
- 1 in 4 crash fatalities are people between the ages of 16-24.
- If you chose not to wear a seatbelt, in an accident your chance of survival drops 75%.
- But its not going to happen to you right? It’s always someone else – until it’s not.
Misconceptions and Myths
“I don’t drink and drive so I am a safe driver.”
Driver inexperience, distraction and speeding are the primary causes of teen car crashes. More than 80% of teen drivers admit to distracted driving behavior such as reading, texting, changing clothes, eating and talking on cell phones behind the wheel. Numerous studies have shown that drivers on cell phones (hands free or not) are as impaired than drivers with a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .08. If you know that driving while intoxicated is not worth the risk, why put yourself at even greater risk by driving while distracted?
“I did my 50 hours of supervised driving with my parents and passed my driving test. Now I have my junior/probationary license so I am ready to drive where I want, when I want.”
Congratulations! That’s a great start. But it’s just a start. If you had 50 hours of basketball practice would you feel ready to go out on the court with the pros? Probably not. It’s the same with driving. Extensive training is the only way to become truly proficient at any task – especially one that involves a complex combination of mental and physical skills and about 3,000 pounds of metal. Mistakes behind the wheel can be extremely costly to you and your family – financially, physically and emotionally. If your parents insist on restricted or supervised driving privileges, take it as a sign that they value your well being and safety more than their own convenience.
“If I am in an accident, I won’t be hurt. My car has all the latest safety features and besides, my friend was just in a accident and walked away without a scratch.”
StreetSafe recommends that you drive cars with the latest safety features, but they aren’t a guarantee that you won’t get hurt in an accident. The severity of injury has more to do with the type and speed of an accident rather than the safety features of a particular car. And just because your friend walked away from an accident doesn’t mean you will. It might just have been his lucky day. But even if you don’t have serious injuries from an accident, don’t forget that there are financial costs to every crash. Typical costs include car repair, traffic citations, insurance deductibles as well as increases in insurance premiums.
“I see plenty of other drivers make crazy moves on the road. Nothing happens to them. Why shouldn’t I drive like that too?”
It’s clear that there are a lot of bad drivers out there. Why would you want to be like them? Besides, they may have gotten away with a dangerous move the time you saw them, but they may be in a serious accident the very next day. Aggressive and dangerous behavior behind the wheel catches up to every driver eventually. It’s the law of probability. The choice is yours. Do you want to be an average driver like everyone else or do you want to be better than that?