Car Accident Lawyer
Although parents of teenagers are generally aware of the fact that driving as a novice is dangerous, many parents are shocked to learn just how vulnerable their teens are during the first few years behind the wheel. Federal statistics consistently indicate that teen drivers are at the highest risk of being involved in fatal and injurious crashes of any driver age group, including particularly elderly drivers.
As a result of the inherent vulnerability of operating a motor vehicle as a novice driver, it is – too often literally – a matter of life and death that teens learn to drive defensively.
What Is Defensive Driving?
Defensive driving is an approach to motor vehicle operation that emphasizes the anticipation of potentially hazardous situations. As an experienced personal injury lawyer – including those who practice at Council & Associates, LLC – can confirm, defensive driving approaches will not make your teens invulnerable to the risks inherent in driving but it may save them from death and seriously debilitating injuries.
When one drives defensively, it isn’t always possible to avoid being involved in an accident. However, taking this approach seriously can mean the difference between incurring a collision that is mild or moderate and one that is severe or fatal.
Putting the Concept into Practice
To put the concept of defensive driving into practice with your teen, you’ll want to explain the approach as a two-tiered concern. First, your teen will want to get into the habit of anticipating hazards. All too often, teens – and other drivers, frankly – take it for granted that others around them are driving safely and that the roads they’re traveling on are safe. By assuming that there are – correctly – dangers all around, your teen will remain more alert than they would otherwise.
You may want to suggest to them that driving is a little like taking a hike on a worn path in the woods. Because the path is worn, they aren’t traversing uncharted territory and they don’t need to be hyper-vigilant at all times. But because the woods are home to dangerous animals and unexpected conditions, they need to walk in them with a heightened sense of alertness, given the likelihood of encountering something unexpected at one point or another.
Once your teen understands this first “tier” of the defensive driving approach, it is time to explain the second. The analogy you can use for this tier involves swimming in the ocean. If you’re swimming in the sea and you’re caught in a break, the first thing you need to do after surfacing for air is turn around and see if another wave is about to hit. That way, you’ll know if you have time to navigate out of the situation or if you need to dive back under immediately.
When encountering hazards on the road, it is vital to expect that another is likely waiting in its wake. All too often, it isn’t encountering an initial danger when driving that causes injury. It is a failure to react when a second hazard presents itself immediately after the first.