These are the 3 deadliest mistakes teen drivers make

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Teen drivers were involved in almost 14,000 fatal crashes over the past five years, and more than 4,200 of those accidents involved speeding, according to AAA.

A survey of driving instructors found that speeding is one of the top three mistakes that teen drivers make.

Read more: Drivers with DUIs may pay less for auto insurance than you

Teen drivers are making these 3 deadly mistakes 

In addition, 65% of those instructors said that parents today are worse at preparing their children to drive compared to a decade ago.

“Nearly two-thirds of people injured or killed in a crash involving a teen driver are people other than the teen,” said Bill Van Tassel, AAA’s manager of Driver Training Operations. “Involved parents really can help save lives, so it’s important for parents to coach their teens to slow down, as well as to avoid other common mistakes.”

Here are the top three mistakes teens make when learning how to drive:

  • Poor visual scanning: Driving with tunnel vision and not properly scanning the road for risks or hazards.
  • Speeding: Traveling over posted speed limits or too fast for road conditions.
  • Distraction: Interacting with a cell phone, talking with passengers or looking at other objects in the vehicle.

AAA said previous studies suggest that parents may be setting a bad example through their own behaviors, such as talking on the phone while driving.

“Parents play a major role in keeping our roads safe,” said Jennifer Ryan, director of State Relations for AAA. “Most teens are learning important driving skills from watching their parents and they are picking up bad behaviors along with the good ones. So it’s up to today’s parents to set a good example. It may end up saving their children’s lives.”

What parents can do to help

So what’s a parent to do? Here are four valuable tips that AAA provided to help parents stay involved in teaching their teens how to drive:

  • Have conversations early and regularly about the dangers of speeding and distraction.
  • Take the time to practice driving with their teens in varying conditions.
  • Adopt and enforce a parent-teen driving agreement that sets family rules of the road.
  • Lead by example and minimize distractions and speeding while driving.

Adding a teen driver to your policy 

If you have a teen driver, be prepared for sticker shock. Adding a teenager to a married couple’s car insurance policy leads to a 79% higher average annual premium, according to an study.

“I believe that you should have your teenager pay some amount, or even all, of the premium for the insurance that they have to have because they’ll tend to be a better driver knowing that they have to pay,” Clark said.


Also, make sure that you have plenty of liability coverage because teenagers tend to have more accidents.

And when it comes time to add a teen driver to your policy, shop around for the best price and best coverage, starting with our list of highly-rated auto insurers.

Read more: Car insurance rates: Geico vs. Progressive vs. Amica vs. State Farm