As a parent, the idea of your teenager getting behind the wheel can be a scary one, regardless of the time of day.

But thinking about your teen driving after dark can be especially nerve-wracking, which is why the Southern California car wreck attorneys at Steinberg encourage parents and new drivers to sit down together and talk about night driving before teens get behind the wheel after dusk.

According to a study done by Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), there were 4,322 fatal crashes that involved drivers who were 16 to 19 years of age in 2008.  Among those crashes, 2,148 took place in the evening, accounting for nearly half of all the deadly accidents that year among that age group.  The trend that the study authors found didn’t coincide with the overall trend of fatal crashes.

Following are some issues that should be addressed when it comes to night driving, in order to prevent a Santa Monica car accident injury:

  • Only drive at night if you must. With the increased risks of driving at night, it should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. Have the pizza delivered instead of going out to eat, or plan to spend the night at a friend's house instead of coming home. 
  • Never drive drowsy. Studies show that many teens don't get nearly as much sleep as they should, which can lead to drowsy driving. If you feel yourself starting to get tired, pull over and call your parents. 
  • Keep an eye out for pedestrians. Walkers and bikers are harder to see at night, especially if they are not wearing the proper reflective gear. 
  • Don't drive with the dome light on. The dome light can cause reflections on the windows that make it harder to see. If your passengers need to use the light for any reason, pull over. 
  • Notify your parents of your destination, your expected arrival time, and the route you are taking. Streets and landmarks can look different at night, and it can be easy for new drivers to get lost. Planning ahead can help prevent this, and it can keep you in safe neighborhoods. 
  • Do not text while driving. Many experts believe that many of the fatal crashes involved distracted drivers. Teenage drivers may become distracted by the use of their cell phones, whether it involves making calls, receiving calls and texting.  “We know driving at night is dangerous.  We know using a cell phone behind the wheel compromises your ability to drive.  Put those together and you’ve created a perfect storm,” said Bernie Fette, senior research specialist for the Texas Transportation Institute.

Every household with a teen driver should have a copy of our Southern California teen car accident lawyers' guide, Keeping Your Teen Driver Safe. Call 1-800-350-8888 for your free guide and a parent/teen contract that is included at no charge. These resources can help keep your teenager safe on the road.
Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982
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