Teenagers and young adults are of the most common groups of drivers involved in car accidents. Their minds are still developing, they haven’t refined their skills yet, and they are more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors. Due to these factors, many people find themselves in car accidents with teens and it’s important to know how to proceed. Learn how to take precautions to avoid dangerous situations and know what to do if you’re involved in one.
Statistics on Car Accidents with Teens
It’s common knowledge that younger drivers are likely to cause car accidents, and the statistics alarmingly support that notion.
According to PennDOT, in Pennsylvania there were 23,897 drivers 16-20 years old involved in car accidents during 2017. The only age groups with higher numbers were 21-25 year-olds and 26-30 year-olds, arguably because they are driving more by then. Also, it’s reported that 62.5% (17,630 total) of all multi-vehicle crashes in 2017 involved a driver between 16 and 21 years of age. It goes to show show just how prevalent car accidents with teens are in Pennsylvania.
As one would expect, crashes are more frequent around the weekend with 16.5% of teen crashes occurring on Friday and 14.8% occurring on Saturday. Teens are frequently out on the road these days since they are out of school. They may be driving to and from part-time jobs, practices and activities, or to friends’ houses. Teens also tend to be out later on these days and with more friends in their vehicles, leading to less visibility and more distractions.
The winter holiday season also sees an increase in accidents than other times of year with 9.8% & 8.7% of crashes occurring in December and January, respectively. High school and college students have holiday breaks during these months, causing them to drive more frequently and with more passengers.
As more and more young people from Generation Z gain their permits and licenses, the threat of car accidents with teens remains very widespread.
How to Avoid Car Accidents with Teens
All drivers should take precautions in order to avoid car accidents with teens.
School zones—Taking extra care near high schools and colleges is crucial. In Pennsylvania, there is often a sign indicating a 15-mph school zone speed limit during school hours, however, it’s important to be cautious outside of those hours as well. Students may come in early for activities or stay late for sports and clubs. No matter what time of day it is, be sure to stay extremely vigilant around schools in order to avoid an accident with a young driver.
Stash your phone—These days, nearly every driver has their cell phone in the car. Even though you may be an experienced driver, that does not mean it’s safe for you to use a phone while driving. No matter how long you’ve had a license, you need to keep your phone out of your hands and out of your eye-line while on the road. Set up your music and GPS before leaving and never adjust them while in motion.
Also, do not take phone calls while on the road, even if they are hands-free. Speaking on the phone splits your attention between the road and the conversation and leaves you vulnerable due to a slowed reaction time and decreased awareness. Lastly, never send or read messages or browse social media while behind the wheel. No matter what’s in your notifications, it can wait until you are safely stopped.
Minimize distractions—The phone is not the only culprit when it comes to distracting drivers. Passengers such as friends, family, and children can serve to disrupt your alertness. Be sure to ask your passengers to remain quiet and calm as to not distract you, and make sure your children are occupied. If you need to calm them down or address a problem, pull over first before taking your attention off the road. Also, never eat, drink, or groom yourself while driving. No matter how late you are, these tasks should wait till you are off the road.
What to do After A Car Accident
Sometimes accidents are unavoidable, so you should take the following steps if you are in a collision with a teenage driver.
Pull over—After an accident, remain calm and get to safety. It’s important to not block traffic as this could create danger for other drivers.
Call for assistance—Immediately call 911 to have police and medical services come to the scene. Police officers will write a report summarizing the events of the accident and corroborate your narrative of the incident. Though you may not immediately feel injured, you should always submit to a medical evaluation in order to find unseen injuries, receive prompt treatment, and record the subsequent damages the accident may have caused to your body. Keep copies of the police report, injury records, and all medical bills for potential future reference.
Exchange information—A teenage driver may not be aware of what to do after an accident. Remain calm and help them find their insurance information and vehicle registration. Take photos of their insurance information and take down their name and phone number for further communication. Ask for their parents’ or guardians’ contact information as well, as you will likely be dealing directly with them rather than with the teen.
Collect evidence—Take photos of the damages to your car, their car, and any injuries you sustained. Also take photos of the surrounding conditions such as street signs, weather conditions, and any part of the scene that seems pertinent to the incident. This evidence will also help strengthen your narrative.
Contact a personal injury lawyer—An experienced attorney will assist you in seeking compensation for the damages you’ve incurred. Most people do not have the training or knowledge necessary to navigate the complex dealing of car accident lawsuits. Contacting a reliable lawyer should be your first move after completing the aforementioned steps.
A Trusted Personal Injury Lawyer
Car accidents with teens are incredibly common and can have devastating consequences. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident with a young driver, Donaghue and Labrum can assist you in seeking the compensation you deserve. We have extensive experience with car accident lawsuits and have proudly served our clients for many years. You don’t have to suffer alone after an accident— contact Donaghue and Labrum today to set up your first free consultation.