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Common Causes of Car Accidents in Young Drivers

Safety - 20 June 2019

Taking a selfie of friends in a carAccident Statistics

Arrive Alive, South Africa’s public road safety campaign, reports that under-age and teenage drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely to have accidents. Young drivers are also 20 times more likely to cause accidents because they’re drunk, speeding or distracted by passengers than older, more experienced drivers. Most of these accidents take place on Friday and Saturday nights between 9pm and 6am, and many end in tragedy. In 2016, four out of every five deaths on South Africa’s roads were caused by people between 19 and 34.

Recent research published by Psychological Science suggests that the driving habits of young drivers who experience a serious accident change almost straight away. They start driving slower and less aggressively – in a word, safer. But the intention is not for drivers to learn these lessons after an incident. Instead, let’s avoid crashes altogether by being aware of the risks that specifically apply to young drivers and take steps to address them.

There are several reasons why young drivers are particularly dangerous on the roads. We offer some tips on what to do to prevent them.

A lack of experience

In driving, experience is everything. The more experience you have, the more likely you’re able to judge a potential problem, from torrential rain to sudden potholes, and respond appropriately. Unfortunately, you can’t gather this experience overnight, which means that until you’ve learnt how to navigate gravel roads, icy conditions and tyre blowouts, the best thing you can do is drive slowly and carefully. You might also consider taking an advanced driving course, which can be done through BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Ford, Mini and Volkswagen.

Read more: Defensive Driving Tips from Phillip Kekana

A sense of immortality

Most people in their late teens and early 20s have a sense of invincibility and immortality. This attitude can singlehandedly cause accidents, with young drivers assuming furious speeds, crossing multiple lanes of traffic, tailgating, and other risky moves without consequence.

Don’t wait to find out what the consequences can be.

Distracted driving

Texting, making a call, punching in an address on your phone’s GPS, eating, drinking or chatting animatedly to friends – is a major risk on the roads. Think about this:

  1. An estimated 25% of all road deaths are caused by distracted driving, and young drivers are by far the biggest culprits.
  2. Every day, 11 teenagers die because they were texting and driving.
  3. Simply reaching for your phone increases your chance of having an accident by an incredible 700%.

The worst part about these figures are that totally preventable. Put your phone away; Whatsapp messages and social media updates can wait. Instead, keep your eyes and attention on the road and your hands on the wheel.

Read more: Distracted Driving – a Cause of Road Accidents

Skipping seat belts

It’s a simple habit that takes seconds, but it could be the very thing that saves your life. Wearing your seat belt is non-negotiable, whether you’re a driver or passenger, both in the front or the back seat.

Read more: Can seatbelts save you in car crash?

Friends and passengers

The distraction of passengers can be a major hazard for inexperienced drivers. Young drivers who have a passenger in the car are twice more likely to have an accident, and with two or more passengers, they’re five times more likely.

While you find your driving feet, rather choose to drive on your own or with an experienced driver beside you. Once you’ve gained some experience, you’ll find having passengers a lot less distracting.

Driving drunk

Young drivers are more likely than any other group to drive while they’re under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The combination of being new both to the risks of driving and new to the effects of alcohol means that you’re largely unaware of how severely drinking impacts your driving ability, including your judgement, reaction time, vision and coordination. It’s also illegal which means that you’ll end up with a criminal record.

Memory and lack of practice

Some young drivers pass their driver’s licence and then don’t make use of it for months and even years because they either don’t have the means or the need to drive.

If you feel like you need to get back in the habit after some time away from the wheel, practise on quiet streets with an experienced driver beside you before you venture out onto the open road again.

Don’t become a statistic. Practise safe driving habits from the very beginning. Learning how to deal with the many risks that come with driving takes time, patience and practice. The risks are real; the numbers speak for themselves. And the sooner you become a good driver, the longer you’re likely to stay one.

At Supa Quick, your safety is our concern. Stop in at one of our Supa Quick fitment centres countrywide for a free vehicle safety check and keep your driving accident-free

Disclaimer: This information is for educational, or entertainment purposes only. The views expressed here are not that of Supa Quick. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on this site is at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses and damages in connection with the content on this site.

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