Traffic Hazard and Driving Hazard Statistics
Research has shown that newly licensed teens often fail to anticipate where and when to expect traffic hazards and driving hazards to pop up. Therefore, they do not do a good job of moderating speed and position of their vehicle to avoid them. Traffic hazard and driving hazard statistics show that failure to scan for hazards is one of three critical errors inexperienced teen drivers make that leads them to crash. The others have to do with not moderating speed for conditions and being distracted by something inside or outside the vehicle.
Traffic hazards and driving hazards can include cars in an adjacent lane that may pull out suddenly, pedestrians partially hidden from view until stepping into a crosswalk, another vehicle that rolls through a stop sign or runs a red light, or even a pothole. Experienced drivers have learned to constantly scan the environment and expect the unexpected.
Parents often mistake these driving skill deficits as teens not "paying attention." Actually, teens need to be taught essential skills that adults take for granted. Teens need extra time to master "higher order" skills, including scanning, to manage traffic hazards and driving hazards.
The driver training and research community has been developing and testing programs to help new drivers acquire these skills sooner, before getting licensed, to reduce the risk of crashing. Researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia have developed and tested the TeenDrivingPlan Practice Guide to help parents and their new drivers make the most of the learner’s permit period of licensure.
Among crashes attributed to a critical teen driver error, 21 percent were due to lack of scanning that is needed to detect and respond to hazards.
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