Safety Tips for Young Drivers (And Their Parents)

For many teenagers, earning their driver’s license is one of the greatest joys of their high school years. Once they get comfortable behind the wheel and master the rules of the road during their learner’s permit phase, passing their driving test and getting their driver’s license means more freedom and a greater sense of maturity.

But for the parents of teenagers, teaching their children to drive can be a stressful time. Though some teenagers may take driver’s education classes or private lessons, many parents find themselves teaching their kids the basics. This doesn’t just mean dealing with a lot of sudden braking and resisting the urge to yell “slow down!” every few seconds. It also means assuming the responsibility of teaching teens to be smart, safe drivers. And in the event of an accident involving a learning driver, it might mean complicated liability questions.

The Risks of Driving Lessons

Generally, learning how to drive is a safe experience. This is because most young drivers have their first experience behind the wheel in a safe, contained, and low-speed area. For example, a parent might take their teen driver to a school parking lot over the weekend. Young drivers also have someone in the car with them to help look out for any oncoming dangers. If they are learning from a driver’s education teacher or private instructor, the car might even have an extra set of brakes. When all the correct precautions are taken, the chances of getting into a serious accident during a driving lesson are very slim.

Still, accidents can happen.  In a recent example of an accident, a 15-year-old was practicing her driving in a parking lot in Philadelphia. While behind the wheel, she hit two people by a nearby store, killing them. This might be an extremely tragic example, but it shows that even in low-speed areas, accidents still happen.

New Drivers, New Challenges

During driving lessons, accidents often occur simply because new drivers do not fully know the basics of safe driving. For example, they might drive too fast or too slow, fail to use turn signals, or neglect to check for other vehicles. They might lose control of the vehicle, hit the accelerator when aiming for the brake, or not know how to safely react if another driver causes a problem. What might not be an issue for an experienced driver could be a dangerous challenge for a new driver.

When someone is inexperienced behind the wheel, it’s understandable that they might not always know how to safely and quickly react. However, their inexperience doesn’t mean they’re not liable for any injuries that occur.

Who Is Liable for a Driving Lesson Accident?

Like any else on the roads, new drivers may still be held liable for their actions. If they cause an accident through reckless or negligent behavior, like speeding past a stop sign or failing to check their blind spot, they might be liable for any injuries. Since most teen drivers are likely under their family’s insurance policy, an accident caused by a teen driver can be a financial headache for their parents.

If a new driver is with an instructor, like a driver’s education teacher, the adult supervisor might also be partially liable for an accident. For example, if a driving instructor is texting and fails to prevent an accident by pressing on the emergency brakes, they might be liable, since they neglected to watch the student driver. Similarly, if a driving school has negligent or reckless practices, like hiring unqualified teachers or using badly maintained vehicles, the school might also be liable for an accident.

Tips For Safe Drivers

An accident, even if it’s a minor fender-bender, isn’t a great way to start off a lifetime of driving! Luckily, though, it’s easy to avoid an accident while teaching someone how to drive. If you are about to embark on the journey of teaching a teen to drive, keep these tips in mind:

  • Make sure new drivers are familiar with every component of the car, from the windshield wipers to the warning lights
  • Keep any phones (both yours and theirs!) in the glovebox, back seat, or other unreachable place
  • Talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol and enforce a “zero tolerance” policy around the house
  • Start with simple maneuvers, like slowing down, braking, and turning

Above all, always set a good example! When kids or teens are in the car, put away your phone, wear your seatbelt, and follow all the rules of the road to show them way a safe, responsible driver looks like. That way, when they’re finally old enough to get behind the wheel, they’ll have a great example to look up to.

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The attorneys at Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes represent those involved in car accidents, motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, and other types of personal injury matters. Our firm is one of the oldest personal injury law firms in Tampa Bay. There are no attorneys’ fees or costs unless we prevail for you. Call our office 24 hours a day at 727-796-8282 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation.

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