Teens that brake or turn sharply have high risk of future crashes

February 29th, 2012 - by DKRPA

It is well-known that teen drivers are one of the highest at-risk car accident groups on the road. A combination of youth and inexperience behind the wheel contributes to this fact, and technological distractions continue to be a greater issue for drivers – especially teen drivers.

A new study from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development focuses not just on the car accident risk posed by teen drivers, but what characteristics can predict a risky teen driver. They equipped the cars of 42 teen drivers in Virginia with gravitational force monitors that would sense things such as sudden braking or sharp turns.

After 18 months of studying these drivers the institute found that when a driver’s “g-force events” increased, so too did the risk of a car accident or a near collision for that driver. While researchers say it was not exact, there was a strong enough correlation between g-force events and a potential (or realized) car accident to warrant prediction.

“What we’re saying in this paper is not that these events cause the crash,” said a lead researcher in the study. “What it means is that the pattern of driving, of risky driving measured by elevated g-force events, seems to be about as good a predictor as we know of for predicting a crash, at least among young drivers.”

We have all experienced it – riding passenger-side as the driver operates the vehicle in a spastic or “herky-jerky” way. On some level this constitutes reckless driving, and now there is further research to back that this way of driving – at least among young drivers – can result in future crashes.

Source: EmpowHER, “Risky starts and stops predict teen crashes,” Reuters, Feb. 20, 2012