If you’re a teen driver, then one of your biggest and most natural fears is likely the chance that you could get into a car crash. Car accidents aren’t uncommon – statistically, any driver who’s been driving for roughly two decades has had at least one, according to Forbes Magazine. As per the magazine’s quoted car insurance industry estimates, the average American driver will start driving at age 16, and have at least one brush with the highway’s dangerous side before their 35th birthday. However, it’s important to know that if you do get into an accident – or if you’ve already been in one – learning and growing from it is most important.
Even a little fender bender can often turn us off to the idea of driving again for a while. After all, when we’re on the road we’re driving vehicles weighing several tons going at speeds that no human being could keep up with.
It’s important as a driver that you do not lose confidence in yourself after being involved in an accident – instead, it’s important to understand what to take away from the incident. But first, a little more information on the topic.
Teen Drivers and their Dangers
According to a workshop report made available by the NCBI on Preventing Teen Motor Crashes, most car crash-related deaths occur between the ages of 16 and 19 for young men and women, and the most significant demographic for passenger injury is between 15 and 20 years of age.
It’s precisely for this reason – a greater statistical risk of injury and death – that insurance companies draft more expensive premiums on their policies for teenagers and young adults.
According to the report, the risk factors for teens on the road are simple, and available for research with a “wealth of data” divided into five specific traits or elements that teenage drivers need to mitigate risk, and become the exception to the statistic:
Skills: Most obviously, young drivers won’t have the necessary skill to safely assess most, or all driving scenarios and choose the safest and most conservative plan of action. Being a teenager and a first-time driver often means making mistakes, and even fresh out of driving school that means making those mistakes on the road.
Thankfully, most of those mistakes will be non-fatal – but it’s always a good idea to continue brushing up on your driving at school before taking it out on to the road.
Knowledge: This is partly a matter of understanding and being familiar with the risks associated with driving and a given sense of situational danger and awareness, and partly keeping an internal reservoir of information on traffic laws, traffic behavior, regular operating procedures and road etiquette – basics that any would-be driver must be familiar with.
Experience: Another “duh” point, driving experience is a basic risk factor. The less experienced a driver is, the more likely they are to cause an accident. While there is no way to completely hinder the possibility of an accident short of giving up the wheel forever, the phrase “practice makes perfect” certainly applies to one’s wellbeing on the road.
Maturity: Good judgment comes from having seen enough of the road and the way people behave on it that you make safe decisions, rather than rash ones.
Environment: The right learning environment is critical for mitigating risk – while the wrong learning environment is just as critical in creating that risk.
In short, teen drivers are at risk mostly due to inexperience, a lack of sleep, distractions such as rowdy passengers and electronic devices, and nighttime driving, wherein the risk of a crash is greatly increased due to the lack of visibility on the road.
So What Happens After an Accident?
After the costs and damages of a fender bender are dealt with come the consequences to your driving record and insurance premiums. But fear not! The costs of your first accident as a teen are not particularly high.
Due to the increased risk factor, teens automatically pay a higher premium – and as such, most insurance providers don’t penalize first accidents as much with inexperienced drivers as in other demographics. If you ask about a student car insurance policy at CoverHound or another insurance partner, you’ll find that you can get a different deal on account of your age and driving record.
In fact, your rates may not go up at all. This is extremely important to keep in mind, especially for students with excellent grades and a near-perfect record in driving school. Insurance providers charge you by risk – if you have all the signs of being a safe driver with a sound judgment, then your first minor accident can be forgiven.