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Protecting teen drivers—and everyone on the road around them

Before teenagers get behind the wheel, parents have a responsibility to prepare them for the risks they may face on the roads in Louisiana. Not only do these dangers involve other drivers and hazardous road conditions, they also include issues that teens themselves may create through carelessness, inexperience or poor choices.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are a number of factors that lead to the injuries and deaths of thousands of teens in motor vehicle crashes each year. Unlike adult drivers, teens typically have not yet learned how to react instinctively in many of the common traffic situations, and instead make judgment errors that cause a collision. They may also fail to recognize the situations in the first place.

Edmunds.com explains that choosing the right vehicle can mitigate some of the risks that teen drivers pose to themselves and others. In particular, technology may alert inexperienced drivers to hazards that they may not recognize on their own, and give them cues for correcting the situation. Blind spot warnings, backup cameras and automatic emergency braking are three such systems that may prevent an accident.

The size of the vehicle may also make a difference in a teen’s driving skills. Teens may be more likely to ignore speed limits if they are in small, sporty cars, while a larger vehicle such as a truck or SUV may be more difficult to control. Both types of vehicles have a higher risk than a midsize vehicle because they are not as protected in the smaller car, and SUVs and trucks are more likely to roll in a sharp turn or overcorrection. 

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