National Teen Driver Safety Week starts in USA

Insurance company GEICO urges teenage drivers in America to exercise caution in four key safety areas as National Teen Driver Safety Week starts in the country.

Running from October 19th until the 25th, the USA is running its annual National Teen Driver Safety Week as the autumn sets in across the country. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness amongst younger drivers of the avoidable dangers they face every day as they get behind the wheel.

Insurance company GEICO has identified four key areas that represent the most dangerous aspects of driving for young people: Speeding, Distracted driving, use of seat belts and sleep deprivation.

To help combat these problems, the company is reminding teenage drivers of the need to be vigilant, observe the rules of the road and ensure they get enough rest each night.

Traveling too fast

Speeding has been identified by the country’s Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) as being a contributing factor in more than 30% of fatal collisions involving teenagers during 2012, often as a result of over-confidence in the ability to control a vehicle. Drivers are advised to stay within the posted speed limit and leave enough distance between themselves and the vehicle they’re following. The IIHS advocates the “two-second rule” whereby a gap of 2 seconds should be left between the vehicle being driven and the one traveling ahead.

Distractions

Extensive research by many institutes worldwide has shown the multi-tasking is a myth and that even those people who believe they can safely send a text message whilst driving are misguiding themselves. The activity is particularly dangerous for teenagers and those in their early twenties since that is the age group that’s most likely to use a smartphone whilst driving.

Other sources of distraction also exist besides the mobile phone such as fiddling with Hi-Fi systems, eating and drinking behind the wheel and being distracted by other young passengers in the car. GEICO recommends that all sources of distracted driving are removed so that drivers can keep their eyes and brains on the complex task of driving.

Seat belt usage

Despite US law stating that seat belts must be worn, seat belt usage amongst teenage drivers is the lowest in any age group in the country and yet this represents the easiest way to save lives. GEICO recommends that new drivers develop a habit of clipping the seat belt in place every time they get into the car so that the process becomes a natural and automatic one over time.

Since front and rear seat passengers become deadly projectiles in the sudden transfer of forces that occur during a collision, seat belt usage is also strongly encouraged amongst passengers and new drivers are urged to insist that their passengers belt up as soon as they sit in the vehicle.

Sleep impairment

The dangers of driving whilst drowsy are not just about the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel. Micro-sleep patterns that are hardly noticeable to the driver have been shown to be the cause of many serious collisions and sleep impairment is also known to be associated with cloudy thinking, poor judgement and slow reflexes. This represents an extremely dangerous combination for new drivers with little experience behind the wheel.

GEICO recommends that teenage drivers start to reduce activity levels in the early evening to ensure they have improved quality sleep during the night and wake up fresh and ready to drive.

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