So your teenage son or daughter has finally gotten his or her driver’s license—what’s next? Are you going to let him or her drive freely around town now? According to a new study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, it can’t hurt to set a few rules. Start with this one: No multiple passengers for the first six months.

Now you might think that rule number one is overkill—your child did pass the driver’s exam after all—but research has shown that teen drivers usually get into car accidents because of their teen passengers. In a survey of 198 teen drivers, results revealed that those who were most likely to drive with multiple passengers thought themselves to be "thrill-seekers." They scored low on risk assessment and reported that their parents didn’t set up rules for driving. Fortunately, these seemingly raucous teenagers make up only a small percentage of the sample as many teens appear to be responsible drivers.

In another study, researchers looked at 677 teen drivers who were involved in car crashes to find out what caused the accidents. According to reports, teen drivers—both male and female—who had passengers were more likely to be distracted just before the accident occurred compared to teen drivers who were driving alone. Male drivers were also six times more likely to do an illegal maneuver and twice as likely to drive aggressively just before crashing. Females, it seemed, rarely engaged in risky behavior behind the wheel.

While most teen drivers seem to act responsibly, peer pressure does have a bit of influence over driving behavior. Friends can encourage safe driving, but they can also egg your teenage son or daughter on so that they'll try a risky move. By setting up certain rules and monitoring their behavior, however, you can at least lessen the probability of your child getting into a car accident.


Get your teens informed about vehicular safety with these helpful articles:

(Screencap from Y Tu Mamá También courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

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