Part 4: Speeding

Stories about fatal car crash incidents in which excessive speed was involved have become soberingly common. Teens figure prominently in these incidents. Some 21 percent of teen car crashes involve speeding. Even a car crash that doesn’t result in fatalities can leave a teenager facing lifelong disabilities and medical challenges. It is important for parents to recognize how vulnerable teens are to speed-related accidents so they can help their teenage drivers avoid the related perils of this behavior.

It would be incorrect to assume that teenage drivers’s speeding problems are always intentional attempts to flaunt the law or express fearlessness. Inexperienced drivers are less likely to note all of the visual cues surrounding them at any given time, including signs indicating posted speed limits or upcoming speed zones. Some new drivers may still be mastering their control of the accelerator pedal, resulting in inconsistent speeds that may exceed the safe limit.

Peer pressure can influence teen driving behavior just as it can affect other aspects of teen behavior. As a result, teenage drivers can allow their cruising speeds to drift above safe limits simply because they are emulating the way their friends drive along the same roadways. Unfortunately, even going 40 mph instead of a posted 30 mph can almost double the amount of force in a collision. Distracted driving is yet another factor that can cause a teen driver to lose track of the posted speeds and/or the current speed of the vehicle.

Proper driver training is a crucial step toward helping teens optimize their driving skills, and therefore their ability to scan for speed postings and manage vehicle speeds. Parents should make sure that their teens undergo a professional driver’s education program. they may also ask their teens to sign a parent-teen driver agreement that includes some clear rules about obeying speed postings and other laws. Leading by example can also help form a teen’s driving habits for the better.

<< Part 3: Teenage driving and alcohol

Part 5: Teenage driving and buckling up>>