Motor vehicle crashes continue to be one of the leading causes of deaths in our nation—especially for young drivers. And now that millennials have been named the worst-behaved drivers in our nation by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, it is important to review what drivers in their 20s are doing wrong behind the wheel in an effort to save lives and decrease the number of crash injuries.
Errors Made by Young Drivers
Let’s face it—young drivers aren’t as experienced as older drivers and thus underestimate dangerous situations or lack the wisdom to make the safest decisions behind the wheel. However, sometimes they deliberately make risky choices that put their lives and the lives of other motorists sharing the road with them in danger. The three top mistakes drivers aged 19-24 make include:
- Speeding. Many people drive well over the speed limit or too fast for road conditions, which can lead to crashes. In fact, speeding is one of the top factors that contribute to traffic collisions, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is because speeding reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely, react to a dangerous situations on the road, and to bring the car to a stop. Even if a driver is only exceeding the speed limit by 5 or 10 miles per hour on a residential street or in a school zone, he can cause an accident. But many young millennial drivers don’t see any danger in this behavior, according to the AAA report.
- Running a red light. According to the same AAA survey, about half of drivers between the ages of 19 and 24 said they drove through a light that had just turned red, and 14 percent of those drivers felt it was okay to do so rather than to try to stop. The information in this report reveals that the attitude many young drivers have related to traffic safety is alarming.
- Texting while driving. Even though texting is against the law for all drivers in Virginia, as it is in most states, many young drivers do so anyway. Whether they read a text or respond to a text, texting at the wheel is a huge distraction that leads to car crashes and fatalities. According to the AAA survey, drivers between the ages of 19-24 are twice as likely as other drivers to e-mail or text while driving.
Alarmingly, 88% of young millennials admitted to engaging in one or more of the above dangerous driving behaviors in the last 30 days, according to the AAA report. Although millennials are more likely than older adults to engage in dangerous driving behaviors that may lead to serious crashes, they are not alone. What’s alarming is that the majority of drivers in every age group admitted to speeding, running red lights, and texting while driving, according to the same report.
Older Drivers Need to Improve Driver Behavior Too
The AAA report reveals that even parents and grandparents of these badly behaved drivers may be engaging in these risky behaviors as well. What’s sad about this is that kids learn a lot from their parents—even when parents don’t know their children are watching. If parents speed, run red lights, talk on the phone, or text and drive while their children are present, their kids are going to learn to drive in the same way and will likely adopt these dangerous driving behaviors that can even stay with them when they go away to college and get their first jobs.
Although parents often believe their teen drivers may be the ones to worry about—as they often make risky decisions at the wheel—the AAA study reveals to parents that their college-aged son or daughter may be the one who isn’t as likely to obey the traffic rules. These findings are worrisome for young millennials and their concerned parents, but they also shine a light on the fact that we all need to set a good example behind the wheel.
Please share this blog with your friends and loved ones on your favorite social media sites to help us spread the word so that all drivers—especially young drivers—understand the consequences of risky driving behaviors in an effort to change the attitude surrounding traffic safety.