Crash Risk Alert

  • bstreetsmart
  • The Trauma Service Westmead Hospital
  • T 8890 7458
  • E
  • P.O. Box 533
    Westmead NSW
    Australia 2145

Crash risk alert for young drivers

Getting a drivers licence can give you a real sense of freedom but you need to aware that there are risks, especially in the first 2 years of driving as you get more driving experience.

Why are young drivers at risk?

Research shows there are a variety of reasons including:

▪ Lack of driving experience

▪ Over confidence about driving ability and underestimating dangers on the road

▪ Carrying friends as passengers – they distract the driver and sometimes encourage the driver to take risks

▪ Deliberate risk-taking behaviours – speeding, not wearing seatbelts, burn-outs, tailgating

▪ Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs

▪ Busy lifestyle – which means they may drive tired

When are they at risk?

Most road crashes involving young drivers happen over the weekend, in the late afternoon and night.

What type of crashes are they involved in?

They are more often single-vehicle crashes. Young drivers are also over-represented in head-on, overtaking and rear-end crashes.

Who is most at risk?

Young men are the most at risk of being involved in a serious crash, also at risk are Indigenous young people and young people living in rural and remote areas. The biggest killer of young drivers is speeding – 80 percent of those killed are young men.

▪ Of all hospitalisations of young Australians, almost half are drivers involved in a road traffic crash and another quarter are passengers

▪ Young drivers aged 17-25 years represent 25% of all Australian road deaths, but are only approx. 13% of the licensed driver population

▪ A 17 year old driver with a P1 licence is four times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a driver over 26 years

How can you reduce the risks?

Driving is a complex task – focus on it and don’t let yourself be distracted

Always wear a seatbelt
It’s the primary safety feature – air bags are designed to work with the seatbelt not on their own.

Don’t drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs
You need to be totally clear headed to drive. Driving the day after partying you may still over the limit.

Two-second gap
Always maintain a two-second gap from the vehicle ahead and when it‘s raining or foggy night the gap should be four seconds.

Expect the unexpected and be aware that other drivers may forget to indicate, or to look to see if other cars are close by.

Don’t drive tired
Driving tired reduces your ability to focus and slows your reflexes.

Scan ahead
Constantly scan the road ahead and to the side – look out for other vehicles, cyclist and pedestrians. Also check your mirrors every five seconds or so.

Drive at or lower than the posted speed limit
Even a few kilometres per hour above the speed limit greatly increases the risk of a crash.

Don’t cut in front of vehicles
Especially trucks or buses as they need a lot more space to stop in comparison to cars.

Adjust the car controls and plan the route while you’re parked
Set your air conditioning and music before driving.

View pdf