Not a Teen Driver? Here’s Why Teen Driver Safety Week Still Matters.

You can make a difference even without a new driver in your life.

October 21, 2022

We observe National Teen Driver Safety Week annually in October (Oct. 16 – 22 this year) and each year we talk about the importance of teaching our newest drivers to stay safe on our roads.

It’s a crucially important issue, but one that can be hard to prioritize if you aren’t the parent of a teen driver. After all, what can you do to help teen drivers stay safe if you aren’t the one teaching or riding along with them? The answer is much more than you’d expect.

By the Numbers

During the past few years, our roads have become increasingly dangerous. According to National Safety Council estimates, more than 21,340 people were killed in crashes during the first six months of this year. While these numbers are down 1% from the same period last year, they’re still up 15% from the first six months of 2020.

Getting into specifics shows just how deadly our roads have become. Teen occupant deaths recently increased for the first time in four years. Pedestrian deaths, meanwhile, are increasing faster than all other traffic fatalities. These dangerous roads put all of us at risk, whether you’re a new or experienced driver, a bicyclist sharing the road, or just a pedestrian looking to cross it. 

Your Role on the Road

Still, what can you do if you aren’t a teen driver or don’t have one in your life? The simplest answer boils down to this: assume every other driver is an inexperienced teen. When you see a vehicle with a “student driver” sign, do you tailgate it or give it extra space? That caution isn’t just courteous, it’s safe: extra space means extra time to react, brake and avoid a collision, which can literally mean the difference between life and death. By driving like you’re surrounded by new teen drivers, you can increase the safety of everyone using the road. 

So, when you’re a driver, make a habit of leaving extra space between vehicles, checking your mirrors more often for other vehicles and bicyclists, and scanning the road frequently for pedestrians. When you’re not a driver, do your best to make yourself visible, make eye contact with others to ensure they see you, and always aim to be predictable by sticking to bike lanes and designated crosswalks. Teen drivers don’t yet know what to expect behind the wheel, so we can all help by not doing anything unexpected on the road. 

National Teen Driver Safety Week may be over soon, but the risks to new drivers will continue all year long. You can make a difference even without a new driver in your life. However you use the road, keep these tips in mind and you’ll help everyone get to where they’re going safely. 

Partner with NSC

With a century-long legacy, the National Safety Council is a global center for safety expertise. Let's work together to align resources. We look forward to learning about ways we can join efforts to expand safety everywhere!

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