For many teenagers, driving represents the ultimate goal - freedom. Getting behind the wheel is like a rite of passage for blossoming adults, marking the start of something new and exciting. Although most kids want nothing more than their own brand new whip, a rising proportion of youngsters are too scared to make the leap. According to a study, 1 in 4 teens are now too worried, and it's stopping them from getting their license.
Insurance company search engine The Zebra conducted the Nationwide study, finding some troubling results. While some teens were put off driving by the cost of buying and maintaining a vehicle, a significant percentage were simply too scared of getting into an accident. 40% of those that took part in the survey admitted that driving seemed so daunting that the possibility of crashing was putting them off entirely. 25% of parents that were asked agreed that driving was dangerous, which could be affecting their teen's attitudes toward it. Girls were more concerned by fear than boys by almost 10%.
The survey also discovered that teens living in suburban or rural communities were less likely to let fear stop them from driving, compared to other youngsters living in busier areas that require them to travel along highways. When it comes to parents, moms are more worried about their kids driving than dads are, with parents of daughters expressing more concern than parents of sons. Their concerns aren't exactly unfounded, either.
Teens between the ages of 16-19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers aged 20 or above, with 75.8% of teen car crashes happening as a direct result of the teen driver making an error. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that a huge 60% of these accidents occur as a result of teens failing to observe their surroundings, being distracted by gadgets, or driving above the speed limit.
There are things you can do to help minimize your teen being involved in an accident, and to put their mind at ease while they get used to driving. Talk to them about driving and what it entails in detail and encourage them to discuss their concerns. When they do start to learn, enforce the rules of the road and make sure they know that these restrictions are there for a reason. Lastly, when buying a vehicle go for substance over beauty. A bigger, heavier car is more likely to keep them safe in the event of a crash - even if they beg for the nifty little drop-top.
You can read the full survey from The Zebra here.