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Bad driving habits of teen drivers may predict auto accidents

Many of us have probably seen a motorist driving poorly on our Fayetteville roads at one time or another and have thought, "Wow, this person is going to cause an accident unless they learn how to drive." Well, a new study based on this concept has revealed some interesting insights about teen drivers, their driving habits, and how certain bad habits correlate with the increased risk of being involved in a car accident.

The study was conducted by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Researchers looked at drivers who recently received their licenses and analyzed some of the habits of those fairly new and inexperienced drivers. In order to study the habits of these new drivers, researchers used camera equipment and computers to record information from the drivers' vehicles.

The study was able to monitor, measure and give feedback on gravitational-force events such as stops, starts and turns. The drivers were monitored for 18 months, keeping track of all crashes or near crashes. What was discovered was that a higher number of instances in which a driver quickly stopped or made a sharp turn predicted that the individual was very likely to be involved in a crash or a near crash in the future. The research showed that more than 240 near accidents occurred and more than 35 accidents occurred during the 18-month study.

Inexperience certainly plays a role in the likelihood of being involved in a crash. New drivers are not always used to how weather can affect the roads or what to do when someone cuts them off, but as the study suggests and as many have assumed for years, making risky maneuvers when behind the wheel is a good indicator that the driver will be involved in a crash.

The importance of this study is that it suggests that monitoring one's driving habits and pointing out flaws can help inexperienced drivers to learn better habits and correct their bad habits when behind the wheel so that they can decrease their risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

Source: EmpowHER.com, "Risky starts and stops predict teen crashes," Feb. 20, 2012

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