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Night driving and teenagers: A deadly combination

Some elderly people and adults in Knoxville and throughout the state avoid driving at night because they do not feel comfortable navigating the roads in the dark. Many teens, on the other hand, seem to have a false sense of confidence when driving at night. Research from the National Safety Council shows that motorists are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident when driving after dark. The rate of teen deaths is especially high, partly due to the fact that they have a greater tendency to engage in risky behavior while driving.

One study conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute, found that certain factors, such as seat belt use, led to a significant decline in the number of people that were killed in traffic accidents. However, the rate of teens who died in nighttime driving accidents increased, as reported by the Washington Post. Researchers found that teenagers are more inclined to text while driving at night, and lack the experience necessary to make crucial decisions in hazardous situations.

For example, an experienced driver may know that it can be difficult to judge the distance and speed of an oncoming car in the dark. Rather than take a risk and pull out in front of approaching headlights, it may be best to wait. Teens are more prone to make a mistake in these types of situations, which puts them in the danger of becoming involved in an accident. This nighttime driving risk increases when teenagers are navigating the roads in bad weather conditions, speeding or driving while distracted.

According to The Governors Highway Safety Association, some states, including Tennessee, prohibit teens from driving at night because of this danger. This law is a part of the Graduated License Program, and is designed to keep the roads safe. Once novice drivers reach 17-years-old, however, they achieve full driving privileges. Hopefully by that time, teens understand that they should drive with added caution after the sun goes down. Otherwise, they put the lives of motorists, pedestrians and everyone else on road in danger.

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