Saying goodbye to your college-aged child as they leave for their college campus in their car filled with all of their belongings is something that many of us are doing right now. Last year, many of us weren’t able to do this, as the pandemic forced most college students to spend a year of their college experience learning remotely.
This is one of the riskiest times for your child
According to national statistics, over 20% of fatal car accidents each year are by drivers aged 18 to 22, and over 500,000 received serious injuries in motor vehicle crashes.
Why are college students more prone to car accidents than other age groups?
There are a few factors that put undergrads at a higher danger for car accident crashes. Fortunately, knowing the risks can help these drivers avoid some of the common pitfalls.
1. Moving to a New City
Many undergraduates move out of town to new cities and states for school. Not only are they far away from your supervision and guidance, but they are unfamiliar with the street markings, traffic patterns, different signage, and common roadside hazards. Navigating through a new city is difficult for drivers of any age, but even more so to a younger age group who rely heavily on directions from iPhones and other digital devices.
Safety Advice: Make sure that your young driver adds extra time to allow themselves to familiarize themselves with their new city or town. Advise them to drive around when they are not in a rush to better familiarize themselves with traffic flow, commuting times, and best routes to common places that they are going to drive to regularly, such as local restaurants, training fields, parks, and laundromats. Advise them to review GPS and smartphone maps before starting their drive.
2. Lack of Extensive Driving Experience
Naturally, younger drivers have less experience and they are at a higher risk of being involved in accidents – even at home. When college students add the complication of living in a new city, they find themselves driving in more complex driving situations like multi-lane interstates, one-way systems, or multiple lanes merging simultaneously. They do not know the roads and they do not have the experience to know how to drive defensively and reduce the risk of an accident.
Safety Advice: Practice makes perfect. As hard as it may be, find the opportunity to co-pilot with your college-age driver and introduce them to different types of driving conditions before sending them off to drive alone in an unfamiliar and likely urban setting. The more they practice driving, the better drivers they will become.
3. Exposure to a Party Environment and Campus
Unfortunately, college campuses across the country are renowned for their party atmosphere. It is critically important that parents and other key influencers reinforce the importance of not drinking and driving. Nationwide, the highest percentage of drunk drivers that are cited are in the 21-24 age group despite the many commercials and other informative material flooding the airwaves during back-to-school months.
Safety Advice: Reinforce the importance of safely using ride-sharing applications, such as Uber or Lyft, as well as having a designated driver rule. Many college campuses offer bus or shuttle transportation, and it is important that your child knows their options. Many parents have an unconditional promise – call me anytime 24/7 and I will help you find a way to get home.
4. Call Our Overland Park Car Accident Lawyers
One of the best safety features for your peace of mind is to make sure that your college student knows who to call in the case of an accident. No doubt the first call will be to you, but the second call while still at the scene of the accident should be to a trusted car accident lawyer.
At Morefield Speicher Bachman, LC, we have decades serving Kansas City and Missouri car accident victims with their needs. We take pride in our ability to be able to work with our clients to help them navigate a difficult situation. We take pride in our personalized service to each and every one of our clients. Our focus is on helping our clients get back what they lost and we will fight aggressively to ensure that they receive the compensation they deserve. If you have been injured in an accident, fill out a contact form or call us at (913) 839-2808. The earlier we get involved, the better the likely outcome of your case.