A sad story from Arizona underscores the common factors in teen crashes: inexperience, speed, and a healthy dose of poor judgment.
On Oct. 28 a 14-year-old boy took his younger brother and cousin on a joy ride during a family reunion near Casa Grande. Police say he lost control at high speed and rolled the family car. No other vehicles were involved.
The driver died that night at a Phoenix hospital. His passengers survived in serious but stable condition.
Alchohol and drugs were not involved. But the driver, unlike his passengers, wore no seatbelt and was ejected.
Safety experts note that crashes among beginning teen drivers often fit a pattern that includes:
- one-car accident
- caused by speed or inattention
- at night
- usually no alchohol
- teenage passengers
- no seatbelt.
Unfortunately, all of those factors applied to the Arizona crash.
The 14-year-old had no business sneaking out with the car. In Arizona, teenagers cannot get driving permits until age 15½ and aren’t licensed until 16.
But setting age and judgment aside, a key factor in the crash was inexperience. Whether driving at age 14, 16, or 18, it’s lack of skill that thwarts your ability to gauge how fast you can negotiate a corner. Skill precludes you from oversteering. Skill keeps you from outrunning your headlights at night – driving too fast to react to obstacles that pop into view.
And skill comes only from experience.
Read the short articles from the Arizona Republic and The Seattle Times.