Young people don’t set out to get behind the wheel and sideswipe another car, or get into any other type of car accident. Unfortunately, teenage drivers cause vehicular collisions far too often. When they do, the results can be horrible. Nearly 260,000 teenagers were injured in car accidents across the U.S. in 2019. Tragically, nearly 2,400 lost their lives. These accidents, of course, also led to debilitating injuries and deaths of other drivers who were involved.
Why does this happen? Why are teen drivers often dangerous when they operate a car? There are a lot of reasons, actually, and this article will cover five of the more common ones. If you’ve suffered a severe injury in an accident caused by a young driver, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a Sand Law car accident attorney as soon as you can. Call 651-291-7263 or contact us online for a free consultation.
1. They’re Inexperienced
It’s hard to learn to drive. There are so many rules you have to follow that it can be overwhelming for a young mind. When someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience operates a motor vehicle, that can lead to horrible consequences. Young drivers simply aren’t yet equipped with the skills they need in order to be able to spot potential hazards and avoid them.
Many times, a young motorist won’t be able to see something like a car stopped on the shoulder of the road, or realize that a road is wet or icy, as quickly as a more experienced driver. They can also underestimate dangers, and be more prone to make a potentially serious error as a result.
2. They’re Easily Distracted
A young driver can be focused on just about anything but the road. They might be thinking of a girlfriend or boyfriend, an upcoming test, or a fight they might have just had with one of their parents. Young drivers are also often distracted by talking or texting while operating a vehicle.
Even a momentary lapse of concentration can have devastating consequences. When a driver is looking down at their phone, for example, they might not see that a vehicle is stopped in front of them. That can result in a horrible rear-end collision that leads to permanent injuries.
Of course, distracted driving isn’t limited to young people. Any driver can commit this form of negligence, regardless of age. But talking and texting is particularly prevalent among high school students. According to a 2019 survey, a whopping 39% of high school students admitted to emailing or texting while driving.
Think about that for a minute. Nearly 40% of respondents flat-out admitted they drive distracted. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to realize the real numbers are very likely much, much higher.
3. They May Drive While Impaired
Just like distracted driving, impaired driving isn’t a problem limited to teenagers. Anyone who’s impaired will have a hard time being able to react to sudden changes in the road. They might swerve too quickly as a result, causing a rollover accident in the process.
Two of the biggest contributors to impaired driving among teenagers are alcohol and marijuana. In a 2011 survey, about 1 million high schoolers admitted they sometimes consumed alcohol before driving a vehicle.
Researchers who conducted a 2020 survey that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that teens generally believe that driving while under the influence of marijuana is less dangerous than driving after drinking alcohol. According to the results of the study, nearly 50% of young drivers said they drive after using marijuana.
4. They May Drive Recklessly
Emotions can run high when anyone is driving, no matter how old they may be. But teenagers tend to take more risks than older drivers, and they may be more prone to let their emotions get the better of them. The result can often be reckless driving.
Teenagers will often show off in front of their friends, whether or not they’re driving a car. This can lead to speeding, tailgating, changing lanes in a dangerous fashion, and other types of reckless behavior. When there are several teens in a car, and one of them is driving, they might want to show everyone else just how good a driver they are. That, of course, can lead to disaster.
5. They Frequently Drive at Night
Teens will often drive well after sundown, either because they’ve been to a party, they have to work late, or they’ve been at a friend’s house studying. This can just exacerbate the problems listed above. Any sort of unsafe driving becomes even more dangerous at night. It’s obviously harder to see, so it’s also harder to react to sudden changes in the road. These could include unexpected curves, cars swerving out of their lane, or even pedestrians trying to cross the road.
Contact a Car Accident Attorney if You’re Involved in an Accident with a Teen Driver
Any time a car accident results in a severe injury (or worse), there is usually a driver whose negligence caused the collision. Whether the negligent party is a teenager or an adult, the injury victim will oftentimes have to take legal action in order to obtain the full and fair compensation to which they’re entitled.
Getting that compensation can be extremely complicated. If you’ve suffered a serious injury due to the negligence of a young driver, the challenges can get exponentially harder. That’s why you’ll need the help of an experienced car accident attorney who knows how to navigate the complexities presented by this kind of case.
You’ll need legal help to recover the losses you’ve incurred due to the accident, including your lost wages, your medical bills and other expenses. Dealing with an insurance company is hard enough when an accident involves an adult. When a teenager is to blame, it can be nearly impossible without an attorney by your side.
Sand Law has the experience and resources it takes to help you get the money you deserve, regardless of the age of the at-fault driver. Schedule a free case review by using our online form or calling 651-291-7263.