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What should teens do to avoid accidents?

There's a learning curve with driving, which is why teens are often a high-risk group. They simply don't have time behind the wheel and they don't have experience. Classes and sessions with instructors are meant to help them before they're allowed to drive on their own, but teens should drive with parents or other adults as much as possible, even after getting a license. This builds experience and helps them get comfortable behind the wheel.

Teens are also encouraged to avoid distractions. This means not texting or talking on a cell phone while driving. It also means not driving with too many other people in the car, not eating behind the wheel and not playing the music too loudly. Attention needs to be paid fully to the road at all times, especially for those who haven't been driving for long.

One of the biggest mistakes teens make is breaking the speed limit. Whether it's done on purpose—driving can be fun and exciting, which may promote speeding—or by accident, it increases the odds of an accident by lowering reaction times and making things like sharp curves or patches of ice even more dangerous.

Teens may also want to avoid driving at night until they have more experience. Even with the proper speed, with the driver's attention on the road and with the headlights on, driving in the dark is hard. Everything happens quickly and reactions must be very fast when things seem to come out of nowhere. Drivers who must drive at night are encouraged to slow down and be extra careful.

If you're injured in a car accident caused by a teen driver, be sure you know your rights in Illinois.

Source: Teen Driver Source, "Car Accident Prevention," accessed Dec. 10, 2015

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