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7 key risk factors for teen drivers

It's a commonly repeated refrain - teen drivers are among the most dangerous on the roads. It's why some parents are reluctant to let them get their driver's licenses, and why teens have to pay more for auto insurance. But it's important to look deeper than that, to understand why this demographic group of drivers are such a risk.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

1. Teens make more mistakes.

This could stem from a lack of experience. Older drivers have made mistakes, learned from them and adapted, thus becoming better drivers. Teens still make easily avoidable errors.

2. Teens underestimate how dangerous situations actually are.

For an adult, driving 100 miles per hour may be terrifying. For a teen, it may be thrilling.

3. Teens often follow too closely.

Even if they're not tailgating, they often don't leave as much room between cars as older drivers routinely do. This means teens have far less time to react to changing conditions ahead of them.

4. Teens crash more when driving drunk.

Driving under the influence is dangerous for anyone, and it is illegal. However, the stats do show that teens are more likely to crash after imbibing than older drunk drivers.

5. Teens don't recognize hazardous conditions.

For example, teens driving in the winter may be less likely to notice black ice, or the way slush that has built up on the side of the road can pull a car out of control.

6. Teens are more likely to break the speed limit.

Speeding causes accidents in many ways. It reduces reaction times, for example, and increases the odds that a car goes out of control.

7. Teens don't use their seat belts.

A mere 61 percent of teens polled in 2015 claimed to always wear seat belts as passengers. This doesn't cause accidents, of course, but can make the accidents that happen far more dangerous.

Of course, not all teens do these things, and it's important not to stereotype an entire group of drivers. Some teens learn how to drive responsibly, follow the rules of the road and are no more dangerous than older drivers.

However, the statistics do show that the odds of teenagers being involved in these risky activities simply are higher. The numbers do not lie. There is a reason that teens are often considered high-risk drivers.

As such, those who have been injured in accidents with teen drivers - whether they were passengers or drivers in other vehicles - should know if they have a right to financial compensation. This can help to cover many costs, such as ambulance fees, emergency care bills, rehabilitation costs, lost wages and more.

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