Common Causes of Road Collisions
If you're here the chances are your child is thinking about (or is) learning to drive and you probably already know that the first few years for a new driver are the most risky.
As a parent/carer/guardian there are lots of practical things that you can do to help your child stay safer when they're driving and when they're a passenger.
Talking with your child about staying safer on the roads
- Agree how as a family you will deal with tricky situations. If your child finds themselves in a situation they're uncomfortable with (e.g. they're getting a lift home with a friend who they know has been drinking) it's important that they can contact you for help at any time of the day (or night). If they're worried about getting into trouble by doing that, they may not contact you and take a risk knowing that they might get hurt.
- The more passengers a new young driver has in the car, the greater the risk of a collision. Limit the number of passengers your child is allowed to take in their vehicle especially in the first 6 - 12 months after passing their test.
- The risk of a new young driver being involved in a collision is much greater late at night and early in the morning. Agree together some limits on driving during these hours (if they have to drive at all). If they're going to be out late they could look at other options like using public transport to get home, you coud offer to pick them up or they could perhaps stay over at a friend's house.
- Up to 50% of crashes that happen in the wet involve young drivers so agree with your child that they will slow down in the rain or when the roads are wet (and in other weather conditions like ice and fog).
- Think about a black box for your child's vehicle. Many insurance companies now offer “black boxes” as part of the insurance for young drivers. There are many different types on offer but generally they monitor how the car is being driven and allow you to view this on the insurance company’s website.
- Fatigue is also a factor in many crashes with young drivers. Agree together that nobody in the family drives when tired especially if a long journey is involved or it's late at night.
- Talk with your child about the speed limits and why they exist. Young male drivers are the most likely group to be involved with a fatal pedestrian crash. Talk about the possible fines and penalties of speeding and the fact that a new driver could lose their licence.
- Help your child to get as much practice as possible before their test. This could include you giving them 'private practice'. Research shows that the risk to newly qualified drivers goes down when they've had 120 hours or more on the road practice before their test.
- Remember that you're a role model. How you drive and act in a vehicle will have an impact on your child.
Driving Instructors (ADIs)
Choose a driving instructor (ADI) carefully. ADIs have different specialisms, skills and interests, so pick someone who cares about road safety, who comes recommended and who will be a good fit with your young driver.
Many ADIs have signed up with "The Honest Truth" project. This means that they have agreed to talk about road safety and safer driving behaviours with their students. Click here to find an Instructor.
After they pass
Just because your child has passed their test it won't automatically make them a good driver it just means that they have achieved the minimum level to drive on the roads. There are a number of courses they can take to gain further experience once they have passed their test. Speak to their ADI to see what they offer or contact IAM or RoSPA about further courses.