New results from a survey taken by driving instructors (Skills of Novice Teen Drivers) reveals the top three mistakes teens make when learning to drive.
1. Poor Visual Scanning
Insufficient visual scanning includes driving with tunnel vision and not properly watching the road for hazards. Inexperienced drivers often forget how important it is to scan the roadway and stay aware of their surroundings at all times.
Traveling over posted speed limits or traveling too fast for road conditions can be deadly. In the last five years, teen drivers were involved in almost 14,000 fatal crashes and more than 4,200 of those crashes involved speeding.
This one comes as no surprise. Many teens are in the habit of interacting with a cell phone, talking with passengers or paying attention to other things going on in the vehicle while driving.
Results of the survey also say that parents today are worse at preparing their teens to drive than they were 10 years ago. Unfortunately, parents often set a bad example through their own driving behaviors. A recent survey from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that a high percentage of drivers aged 35-55 reported talking on a cell phone while driving and driving 15 mph over the speed limit on a highway.
Parent involvement is key to preventing deadly driving mistakes. Parents should take the time to practice driving with their teens and coach them to slow down and follow the rules of the road. Leading by example, minimizing distractions and speeding, can go a long way with instilling safe driving behaviors early on in a teen’s life. Many driver education programs are also available to teach teens safe driving skills.