Your teen just got their driver’s license! It’s an exciting time for them and for you.
While they have the newfound freedom of a driver’s license, you have the newfound freedom to no longer be their sole means of transportation. However, if you’re serious about keeping your child safe behind the wheel, your work is just beginning.
Many parents are unaware that your teen driver is entering into the most dangerous period that any driver will ever spend behind the wheel. That is not an exaggeration. The two-year window after receiving a driver’s license presents the greatest risk for death or serious injury they’ll ever face behind the wheel.
So why are teens so likely to be involved in a collision during this time, and what options exist for parents looking to keep them safe behind the wheel? Researchers around the globe have been hard at work on this critical question.
Their results reveal a successful formula for reducing teens’ driving risk during this critical window by up to 76% A combination of comprehensive driving information, targeted microlearning feedback, and parental involvement.
Let’s look at why teens face so much risk in the first place, the science this formula is based on, and the new digital tools you and your new driver can use that put it into practice.
What parent wouldn't want to equip their child with safe driving skills that will last a lifetime?
The reasons for risk
The reasons for the increased risk faced by teen drivers are simple. Even teenagers who have completed graduated driver education and have full driver’s licenses have not spent as much time behind the wheel as their older counterparts. Experience matters, and they have less of it.
Additionally, teenage brains are not yet fully developed. They lack several important information processing centers, especially related to risk.
Between a fundamental lack of risk processing and experience, it’s not that surprising that when teens begin to drive without the restrictions and supervision, the number of collisions experienced by teens skyrockets in their first years of solo driving.
The science of safer driving
The epidemic of teen crash risk is a huge problem requiring a considerable response. Similar studies conducted by the Israeli Institute of Technology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the University of Iowa examined the effectiveness of a specific combination of factors intended to reduce teen driving risk and make safer drivers.
They wanted to see if a formula, consisting of comprehensive driving information, targeted microlearning, and parental involvement, could address the needs of new drivers during the critical window of time after they’ve received their licenses.
The results from these studies were overwhelming. In each study, participants that were given access to their driving information, educational feedback, and parental mentoring showed drastic reductions in unsafe driving behaviors versus those that did not. The riskiest drivers reduced their dangerous driving by 76% in just 3 months.
While the results of these studies were undeniable, when young drivers are given access to their driving information, targeted microlearning, and parental mentoring, their rate of risky driver behavior plummets. But the driving information was generated using expensive, aftermarket technology, and the research institutions provided the educational materials. Neither are very realistic for everyday families. Is there a more viable option for parents looking to protect their children?
Welcome to the digital age of driving
As it turns out, any modern smartphone can record the exact type of driving information used in the two studies. Now, parents have the option of utilizing an application, like the DriverZ Virtual Coach™, that provides the driver information and targeted training researchers identified to be so helpful in creating safer drivers.
Whether you run to download a driver training application or choose to mentor your teen driver through more traditional means, you are one of the biggest determining factors in your child’s success behind the wheel.
The best parent mentors take advantage of every tool at their disposal to give them every chance to succeed. Make sure they’ve taken reputable driver education for a credible driving school and maintain an active and participatory role in their driving progress.
Though it can be a scary time, these first few years of driving can be looked at as an opportunity. There’s no better time for your teen to build the safe driving skills and muscle memory than when they’re learning. Between your active mentorship and the combination of driving information and targeted training, you can help them to build the driving skills to keep them safe during these difficult years, and for the rest of their lives.