Aggressive Driving In Teens – Advice for Parents

Aggressive Driving In Teens – Advice for Parents

Anecdotal evidence usually suggests that teens are engaging in aggressive driving behaviors and usually ignore the basics of driving. We think of teens as novice drivers (well because they are) and we associate poor driving skills with teens in general. Aggressive driving in teens may seem like a minor problem but according to a new study, aggressive driving in teens is on the rise.

In 2019, a study found that anger issues could be a contributing factor in some accidents: 20% of teenagers report anger issues. Additionally, 14% of aggressive driving crashes involve a driver aged 18 to 24. [1]

Aggressive driving as well as distracted driving will continue to be an issue in the U.S. in the coming years. But how will aggressive driving in teens change over the next 5 to 10 years?

What Does Aggressive Driving Mean & how Are Teens Affected?

It is defined as the offensive behavior of an individual in moving traffic that endangers other people or even their property. Aggressive driving might include but may not be limited to the following.

  • Tailgating
  • Speeding
  • Running red lights
  • Frequent, unsafe lane changing
  • Failure to obey traffic signals
  • Driving on the median, shoulder, or sidewalk
  • Passing in zones where prohibited
  • Failure to turn the signals when turning or changing lanes
  • Ignoring signals from the drivers
  • Failure to yield the right of way
  • Driving recklessly, erratically, or negligently
  • Taking frustrations to other motorists

Teens can be the victim of aggressive driving as well as the perpetrators. Oftentimes, an inexperienced teen driver might be the target of road rage because impatient drives around them react irrationally to any small inconvenience.

Teens can often be the cause of aggressive driving. These actions often illicit an aggressive driving response:

  • Using the phone while driving
  • Keeping high beam light even with approaching vehicles
  • Failure to use the turn signal
  • Failure to check the blind spot before lane switching

Most teens engage in risky driving when they are with another teen and no adult. In fact, Aggressive or risky driving instances decreased by 67% when an adult was in the car. [2]

The Effects of Aggressive Driving in Teens

Most teens consider aggressive driving is dangerous, but many of them admit that they have an aggressive driving style. Moreover, a large percentage of teens admitted they have retaliated or experienced road rage when provoked, which created a dangerous environment for everybody on the road.

This means that there is a disconnection between their understanding of safe driving and reality. Teenagers amirite?

This disconnect between what they know and how they act can be addressed if explained correctly and compassionately. Usually, giving examples of how road rage and aggressive driving can lead to death, can act as a way to connect the idea with the action.

Aggressive driving in teens can be curtailed and in real life, concrete examples have a way of grounding the idea.

What Causes Aggressive Driving Behavior in Teens

According to sources, around 2,700 teens between the ages of 13-19 have died in the U.S. due to automobile crashes in 2017 alone. [3]

Surveyed drivers blamed mobile devices and driving games as contributing factors to this misbehavior while driving. These may mislead young people and influence them to drive aggressively. Though there is no proof that video games will indeed cause any aggressive driving in teens directly.

The media has indeed influenced the car culture in the West. But there are a lot of other crucial factors that may contribute to teen crashes which include the following.

  • The inexperience of the person behind the wheel
  • Driving with teens as passengers
  • Driving during the night
  • Driving in an emotional state
  • Driving after consuming drugs or alcohol

Teenagers will be teenagers, and parents will be parents. Explaining this until you’re blue in the face might not be the best approach, but if you can put aggressive driving in perspective for them, you may be able to reach them.

How Teens Can Avoid Aggressive Driving

We’ve discussed the best ways to avoid road rage, but it’s worth mentioning that some teens will face struggles with anger that change or subside as they reach adulthood.

  • Drive with an adult [2]
  • Ask your teen to avoid driving with friends who already drive aggressively
  • Explain how aggressive driving could cause fatal car accidents
  • Ask them to plan and leave early to avoid rushing to their destination
  • Try placing the phone in the trunk or install an app to avoid texting and driving
  • Ask them to focus on the road when driving and not talk to passengers
  • Observe common courtesy by avoiding actions that will provoke other drivers
  • Reduce your stress so that you can avoid feeling aggressive yourself
  • Adjust your attitude on how other drivers are behaving to avoid aggressive driving incidents
  • Always keep your cool and think about the consequences of your actions before doing anything

If your teens tend to drive aggressively, you can help by talking them out of their bad habits. Sharing the road with other drivers is important and a little guidance about managing emotions can develop habits to protect them when behind the wheel.

Jordan Ellis

Jordan Ellis graduated from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. She is a firm believer in making the roads safe for everyone. Fort Myers being such a heavily populated city during Snow-Bird season, she has seen many fatal car accidents due to aggressive driving. She is a very defensive driver and thinks everyone should know how to handle aggressive drivers and be safe.

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