Understanding the Risks
Driving brings a great deal of freedom-and also, for all drivers, comes with risk. Traffic, weather and other drivers’ behaviour can all pose dangers.
Teenagers are among those at the highest risk of causing a collision when driving. Each year, the number of people killed in car crashes across Canada involving young people-either as drivers or passengers of other young drivers-is over 700.
The main cause of crashes involving teens is risk taking-speeding, or driving while distracted or impaired. Peer pressure can lead to risky behaviour and poor decision making.
Staying safe behind the wheel
To reduce the risks inherent in driving, teens should:
- Follow the rules of the road
- Never talk or text on a cell phone while driving
- Ensure they and their passengers wear a safety belt
- Respect speed limits
- Never drive when drunk or impaired by other substances
- Avoid driving in extreme weather
Parents can have a big impact on their teens’ driving behaviour. Research shows teens value the opinions of their parents over anyone else. Parents can help by:
- Being involved in their teen’s development as a driver
- Acting as a role model for safe driving
- Teaching their teens to drive under low-risk conditions before gradually moving to more challenging situations
By understanding the risks involved with driving, parents and teens will be better equipped to avoid the potential consequences of getting behind the wheel.