National Teen Driver Safety Week

National Teen Driver Safety Week

Teenagers are particularly vulnerable drivers, due to their inexperience behind the wheel. In fact, teenagers account for more fatal automobile accidents than any other age group and are involved in four times more fatal accidents than adult drivers. Every year, more than 5,000 adolescents are killed in motor vehicle accidents, making it the number one cause of death among 16-19-year olds.

Following a series of tragic teenage driving deaths in Pennsylvania, Congress created National Teen Driver Safety Week to raise awareness for teen driver safety and encourage safe teen driver and passenger behavior. Now in its 10th year, National Teen Driver Safety Week takes place October 15-21.

Whether you’re just getting behind the wheel or have been driving for years, take the time to review the following safe driving tips.

Chose a Safe Car

If possible, drive a safe car that is well-maintained. Check that the lights and brakes are all working. Make sure your windshield is clean. Check your tire pressure and ensure you have enough gas. Do not leave valuables in your car or park your car in an unsafe area. Keep a roadside emergency kit in your trunk and a spare tire and tire jack.

Obey the Rules of the Road

Always wear your seatbelt and insist that your passengers wear theirs as well. Obey the speed limit – speeding is one of the main causes of teenage accidents – and maintain a safe distance from other cars on the road. Keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road at all times. Always use turn signals. Drive defensively, but not aggressively and steer clear of defensive drivers. Make sure intersections are clear before you proceed and that you have the right of way before making a turn. Drive carefully in school zones and always stop for school buses.

Only Drive Under Safe Conditions

Do not drive if you have been drinking or using drugs. Drugs and alcohol impair your judgment, delay your reactions, and can lead to dangerous or deadly results. Similarly, try to avoid driving late at night if you are tired or if the weather conditions are dangerous. If the road conditions aren’t ideal or if you feel you are too impaired to drive, call an adult or responsible driver for help.

Minimize Distractions

Driving requires you to make split-second decisions, so do not eat, comb your hair, change radio stations, put on makeup, or engage in other types of distracting behavior when behind the wheel. Also, limit the number of passengers that can take your attention away from the road. It is recommended that new drivers only have one passenger with them for the first year behind the wheel.

Do Not Use Your Cell Phone

Many states have enacted laws banning texting while driving because texting causes a loss of focus for 4.6 seconds. While that might not seem like a lot of time, it is long enough to drive the length of a football field! Multiple studies have shown that using a cell phone while driving – even a hands-free phone – is the equivalent of driving drunk. A good rule of thumb to avoid the temptation of using your cell phone is to turn it off, put it out of reach, or enable a “driving mode” app when you get behind the wheel.

Visit’s guide on Internet Safety for Teens.