Posted in Car Accident on May 7, 2018
Teens have a lot more to be worried about on the road, a new study finds. Parents might feel overbearing for imposing strict rules for their novice and teen drivers but they’re often right for doing so. Learn why teens may be more susceptible to distracted driving – and what you can do to minimize dangerous behavior in your teen.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, teens are 3 times more likely to send a text while driving. This isn’t the only reason they’re more likely to become distracted on the road – it’s a simple matter of biology.
Daniel Keating is a psychology professor at the University of Michigan who studies adolescents and driving behavior. According to him, teens are still in the process of developing a concept called “regulatory competence.” In layman’s terms, this is an ability to control one’s emotions, regulate attention, and function competently under challenging circumstances.
Our brains essentially develop from back to front. The prefrontal cortex, which is the brain’s executive control center, develops more slowly than more primal systems like the limbic system, which controls reward and arousal. For a teen, the impulsive drive to answer a text is more irresistible than is to an adult, despite the known risks.
A teen’s developing brain also affects their ability to respond effectively to stressful situations, according to Keating. If there are a lot of distractions in a car – such as other teens or even loud music – they all affect a teen’s ability to drive effectively. On long trips, it can seriously impact a teen’s chances of being in an accident – or even affect their ability to take corrective actions to avoid a crash.
We often associate distracted driving with texting, and it’s one of the more common contributing factors to car accidents. On the other hand, several other distractions could seriously endanger your teen. Add the fact that teenage drivers are more likely to speed and less likely to wear seatbelts, and you have a dangerous combination.
Teens are more naturally distracted behind the wheel; it’s a simple matter of their still-developing brain. Talk to your teen drivers about minimizing their distractions behind the wheel to maximize their safety. By taking some simple steps, you and your teen can significantly reduce his or her chances of being in a car accident.