Teen car accidents can leave devastation in their wake. Teens can suffer severe and life-changing injuries when they cause a crash, but they might also hurt others and leave behind damaged property due to lack of experience, reckless driving, or distracted behavior.

A review of National Accident Data from 2014 concludes that fatal car accidents involving teenage drivers have increased significantly in recent years.

While states have some form of graduated driver’s licensing regulation which have helped to enhance safety by limiting the number of passengers inside the car or restricting night time driving, officials and pediatricians say that even more can be done

As a parent or guardian, take the opportunity to talk with your teen about these five simple steps and actions they can take to drive safe, prevent accidents and give you peace of mind:

Limit distractions

Getting a driver’s license is an exciting time for your teen but it also means more responsibility. Friends, music and food are all common distractions in vehicles, especially with younger drivers. In California, over 80% of accidents are caused by distracted drivers.

Set some ground rules with your teen driver on who can be in the car, when they can and can’t drive and other safeguards that will help them focus on the road.

Don’t speed

In California, over 35% of all fatal accidents involving teens ages 16 to 19 were caused by speeding. Don’t be complacent on expectations and consequences of your teen’s speeding and don’t wait for them to get a speeding ticket to talk to them about the risks of speeding.

Consumer Reports has published resources that list many devices thatl help parents track their teen’s driving patterns.

Turn on the lights

Before dawn and after dusk can be especially dangerous if a car’s headlights aren’t turned on. Even though it may seem light enough to see the road, it may be too dark for others to see you. Explain this to your teen and help them understand the importance of keeping their headlights on during these times and during unfavorable weather conditions as well.

Drive defensive

Defensive driving can prevent accidents and save you money on insurance as well.

Many insurance programs offer incentive programs for individuals—especially teens—who take defensive driving courses. The Department of Motor Vehicles has many resources to find out more about defensive driving techniques and courses.

Choose a safe car

One obvious factor in vehicle safety is the car itself. Take the time to find the safest car that’s best for your teen driver.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Research guides parents in choosing the safest car for teen drivers on their website. Be sure your teen knows all the features of their vehicle and what to do in an emergency. A safe and reliable car can relieve a lot of the stress that comes with teen driving.

The American Academy of Pediatrics found that the risk of a close call or a vehicle accident was four times higher for teenagers who got their license within an 18-month period. Talk to your teen about these five tips to help prevent teen accidents, but don’t stop there. Help them build the confidence they need to be safe on the road in any situation.

If an accident does happen to your teen, contact Idiart Law for a free case consultation to know how you can receive the most damages and how to move forward.