If you’ve read any of our blog posts up to now, you won’t be too surprised at the findings of this study.
As much as we hate to focus on the negative, the fact is American teenagers are THE most dangerous group of people behind the wheel. The number one killer of American teens is – you guessed it, automobile-related accidents.
The irony here is that teenagers 1) are also often overconfident in their driving abilities, 2) feel invincible and therefore take more risks behind the wheel, and, 3) as you’ll see from this study, believe they’re pretty good at multi-tasking behind the wheel too.
Now, let’s admit that most of us overestimate our abilities in some area of our lives. A running debate among friends or family is often whether or not we are a good driver. We adamantly believe we are good drivers, while others may beg to differ.
Those of us who’ve been driving for a while have no doubt attempted multi-tasking behind the wheel. And we may think we’re pretty darn good at it, too. The thing is, driving is one of those things that requires not only knowledge (of traffic laws, appropriate maneuvers, driving etiquette, and how to handle a vehicle) but significant expertise. It takes several years’ worth of honing for most people to objectively be considered a good driver. We have to drive in different types of vehicles (cars, trucks, small, large, manual shift, automatic); in different cities and states; on freeways, city streets, and country roads; in darkness, in fog, up and down mountains, in inclement weather; with kids and distractions; in traffic; and so on.
There really is a lot that goes into becoming a skilled driver.
Experienced drivers are more likely to be able to multi-task with relative safety. They understand the importance of caution and keeping their eyes on the road, and they have the skill and experience to know when, where, and how to multi-task. (And hopefully the good sense to know when to NOT.)
With teenagers, you’re basically taking an overconfident, inexperienced, risky person – already the most dangerous person to drive – and putting them behind the wheel with a cell phone and a hamburger and sending them on their way. Feel good about that?
So what are we to do? Welcome to our world. At Safety 1st Driving School, we make it our life’s work to reduce those horrible statistics and produce conscientious, skilled, capable, patient, focused, cautious, sober teenage drivers in Orange County.
We do our part to teach your teenager that distracted driving – whether by cell phones, food, music, or passengers – does NOT a safe driver make. We teach with both our words and actions…but YOU as a parent or adult in this teenager’s life, YOU are the most influential person. And teenagers aren’t dumb – they see right through your words to how you really are.
So if you don’t practice what you preach, you can pretty much kiss a safe teenage driver goodbye.
Please please PLEASE, despite your “ability” to safely multi-task behind the wheel, resist the temptation. Show your kid that IT CAN WAIT. Texting, talking on speakerphone, eating, messing with CDs or iPods, reading, applying makeup, turning around to talk to passengers – all of it can wait. NONE of it is worth the risk of an accident.