10 Common Causes of Teen Driving Accidents

By Amanda Warren

For many parents, the moment their child gets their driver’s license is a moment of joy. But for others, it’s a time of worry – especially when they learn that car accidents are a leading cause of death for teenagers in the United States. While many factors can lead to a teen car accident, here are some of the most common ones:

1. Distracted Driving

Teens are more likely than any other age group to be distracted while driving, whether it’s texting or talking on their cell phones, eating or drinking, grooming themselves, or messing with the stereo. They are also more likely to be distracted by their passengers. Distracted driving is a significant factor in many teen car accidents and can be deadly. It’s important to talk to your teen about the dangers of distracted driving and ensure they understand the consequences.

2. Speeding

Teens often feel invincible behind the wheel and are likelier to take risks, like speeding, than other drivers. Unfortunately, speeding is one of the leading causes of car accidents. It often leads to loss of vehicle control and can make an accident much more severe. Make sure your teen understands the importance of following the speed limit.

3. Reckless Driving

Becaus many teens believe that they are invincible, they take additional unnecessary risks while driving. This can include talking or texting on their phone, speeding, or not wearing a seatbelt. These reckless behaviors are  extremely dangerous and can lead to serious accidents.

4. Drinking and Driving

Summer is the most dangerous season for teen drivers, mainly due to excessive drinking and driving, yet many teens still do it. If your teen is going to drink, make sure they understand the dangers of getting behind the wheel and have a backup plan to get home safely. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is never worth the risk. There are many new rideshare options that didn’t exist for drivers in the past, so parents should help educate their teens about other options.

5. Weather Conditions

Bad weather conditions, like rain, snow, or ice, can make driving more difficult and dangerous. If your teen is driving in bad weather, make sure they take it slow and be extra cautious.

6. Nighttime Driving

Nighttime driving can be more dangerous than daytime driving due to reduced visibility. Nighttime is also when many drunk drivers are on the road. This leads to a higher risk of accidents that can be fatal.

7. Fatigue

Fatigue is a common problem among teens, who often don’t get enough sleep. Driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. It causes a decrease in reaction time and can lead to serious accidents.

8. Inexperience

Many teen car accidents are caused by inexperience. Teens are more likely to make mistakes when they first learn how to drive. As they gain more experience, they’ll become better and safer drivers, especially in the aforementioned bad weather conditions. It is important to ensure your teen is getting enough practice in all road conditions behind the wheel before driving on their own.

9. Construction Zones

Construction zones can be dangerous for any driver, but they can be especially hazardous for inexperienced teen drivers. These areas often have changing traffic patterns, which can confuse teens. They may also have obstacles, like cones or barrels, blocking their view.

10. Animal Crossings

Animal crossings can be dangerous for any driver as they can lead to swerving or braking suddenly to avoid hitting the animal. This can cause an accident, especially if another car is following closely behind. Teens should learn which animals are most common in their area and if there are any particular stretches of road that have high animal activity causing accidents. Deer, for example, are a serious threat in many areas and cause hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries annually.


Driving is a skill that takes practice and focus just like any other. Many of the dangers above can be greatly minimized by understanding that driving is a serious task that requires multi-tasking and one’s full attention. Summer is the most dangerous season for teen drivers having too much fun and becoming easily distracted, so it’s important to talk to your teen about the dangers of driving enumerated above and ensure they understand the importance of being safe on the road for themselves and others.

Image: Pixabay

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