Summer in Wisconsin is a wonderful time! Concerts, festivals, heading to the lake, and more make Wisconsin summers hard to beat. With all the activities going on, there are a lot of drivers on the roads. There have been stories in the news recently about car accidents. Sadly, most of those accidents have been related to teen driving.
According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, 9.2% of all 16-19-year-old licensed drivers in Wisconsin had a crash. That’s one in 11 teen drivers! Teen drivers are 44% more likely to get in an accident on the weekend (Friday-Sunday). Age does matter. The age of a teen most likely to get in an accident is 16-years-old.
Why Are Teens More Likely to Crash
The most obvious reason is that teens are new and inexperienced drivers. They’re newly minted drivers still learning the rules of the road. Teens are more likely to be distracted while driving, engaging in behaviors such as fiddling with music, texting, and being distracted by friends in the car.
However, it’s not all teens’ fault! Summer is a busy time for Wisconsin roads with more traffic and more road construction. This leads to blocked roads, traffic jams, and an increased risk of an accident to everyone on the road.
How to Keep Teens Safe While Driving
There are ways to help your teen driver stay safe! We have some tips that aren’t just about setting rules and expectations. It’s important to educate your teen on why safety is important and maintaining a safe vehicle.
Rules and Expectations:
1) Always wear a seatbelt
If they don’t wear a seatbelt, driving privileges will be revoked. According to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, when teens were involved in an accident only 62% of passengers were wearing a seatbelt.
2) Limit friends in the car
This is the law in Wisconsin for good reason! The first license you get after you pass the tests is a probationary driver license. The probationary driver license is in effect for nine months and states: you can’t drive between midnight and 5 a.m. and you can only have one other passenger in the car. If caught violating these restrictions, your probationary license will be extended.
3) Drive the speed limit
Speed limits are set for a reason! Speeding to a destination may only save you a few minutes and isn’t worth the increased risk for an accident or a ticket. A speeding ticket can cost hundreds of dollars, will take away points from your license, and increase your probationary driver license time.
4) No Texting and Driving
Another important law! It is illegal to text and drive in Wisconsin. Nationally, texting and driving leads to 11 teen deaths per day. We have a helpful infographic on texting and driving and why it’s so important to not text and drive.
Show your teen how to check their headlights. Are the headlights dirty or need to be replaced? Is a light out? Show them how to take care of their headlights.
Teach your teen how to check their tire pressure and how to fill them with air. Crucially, teach your teen driver how to change a flat tire!
3) Warning Lights
Go through the different warning lights on their vehicle and what it means. Make sure they have the phone numbers for their auto insurance agent and other important numbers they may need to call.
Of course, you hope your teen is never in an accident, but take the time to make sure they’re prepared if they are. Use our guide “Do You Know What to Do If You’re In An Accident?” Print it and keep it in the car!
Communication with Your Teen Driver
We always recommend having open communication with your teen driver. Let them know you’re open to questions from them about driving and the vehicle they drive. Accidents will happen, but the more you can educate your teen driver, the better chance they have of being safe.
Going over our Parent-Teen Driving Agreement will help open those lines of communication and make expectations clear. Print it and go over it with your teen driver.
Please contact us if you have any questions!