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What to Do When a New Driver Is in a Car Accident

Published on Feb 18, 2022 at 5:11 pm in Car Accidents.

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As a Lexington, KY driver, you’ve probably heard a fellow motorist say a time or two that one thing they fear most is sharing the road with different types of motorists, such as teens.

Various factors may motivate drivers to fear sharing the road with new drivers, which we’ll outline below. We’ll also address how teens aren’t the only “new” motorists drivers have to be on the lookout for. Other motorists may engage in behaviors that put the rest of us sharing the road with them at risk. We’ll also tackle some “best practices” any motorist, including newly licensed and more experienced ones, should follow anytime they have a crash.

Who Falls into the Category of New Drivers?

New drivers would generally be described as those having little driving experience and might have just received their driver’s license. While teens may undoubtedly fit this bill, they’re not the only ones. Other new drivers may also include:

  • Someone who recently relocated to Lexington from a big city, where taking public transportation was the norm
  • A person who recently relocated to this country from abroad, who perhaps drove but was subject to entirely different rules of the road from here in Kentucky

In each of the scenarios described above, a driver may not have yet mastered the rules of the road or best practices for driving in different situations. They might not have yet learned to make good judgment calls that come with experience.

What Mistakes Are New Motorists Likely to Make?

If you think of just about any activity, it’s more likely that someone who has performed it for years will do it better than someone who has been doing it for only a few days, weeks, or months. The same logic applies to new drivers. Inexperienced drivers struggle with:

Knowing how a vehicle will respond. Each car has a different feel. Each one operates a bit differently, too. If a motorist is used to driving an older car, they may find that they have to apply more pressure to the accelerator or brakes than they otherwise would have to if they were operating a newer vehicle. A motorist may find that cars with anti-lock brake systems respond differently, allowing them to come to a full stop far quicker than they would in a car equipped with a different braking system. Motorists may only learn through experience how their automobiles respond in inclement weather or when carrying differently weighted loads.

Giving driving their undivided attention. New Lexington, KY drivers may not realize how important it is to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. They’ll often think they can converse with their passengers, text their friends, calm a baby in the backseat, eat, apply makeup, or perform countless other tasks while driving. However, motorists’ additional activities increase their risk of becoming entangled in a crash.

Making sound driving judgment calls. Any motorist can read the driving manual necessary to pass a Kentucky permit test. They can also take a driver’s education class on a simulator or with an instructor with their own foot pedals next to them in the car to override first-time driver mistakes. While any of these scenarios may aid a new driver in improving their driving skills, things are a lot different when a driver can only rely on themselves to make decisions. Drivers have to learn through trial and error over time whether they have enough distance to make a turn in front of another vehicle, how wide to make a turn, or when they’ve moved forward far enough to pass another car.

Is It Right to Circulate Stereotypes About New Drivers?

While it may not feel right to “profile” your fellow motorists, there may be some benefits to doing so. Why? If the following data about teen drivers is any indicator of other issues that new drivers face, then it may not hurt to look into teenage drivers as a demographic.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics back up why experienced motorists may want to fear sharing the road with teen drivers. CDC data shows that teens between the ages of 16 and 19 have the highest per-mile collision rate of any population.

Statistics compiled by smartphone monitoring service TeenSafe in 2018 showed that 11 teen motorists lost their lives each day in accidents attributable to texting and driving that year. At least half of the victims were aged 16-19. That same data attributes another 25% of crashes involving teens to drinking and driving.

Signs That a Motorist Is Newly Licensed

There are often tell-tale signs that a motorist may be newly licensed. You may notice that they:

  • Reliably keep their hands on the wheel at ten and two
  • Drive particularly slowly or obsessively pump their brakes
  • Physically tense up or obsessively peer into the rearview mirror worried about a rear-end crash when a motorist is behind them

Other signs you may be sharing the road with an inexperienced or unsafe motorist include if they:

  • Don’t seem to notice when a traffic light has changed color or take off slowly at the intersection
  • Struggle to stay inside the lines within their lane
  • Cut in front of another vehicle when passing or to make a turn
  • Experience significant fluctuations in speed

One or more of these signs may let you know that a driver lacks experience, is on their phone, tired, or intoxicated. The best approach in a situation like this is to keep some distance from these drivers.

Strategies To Employ After a Crash with a New Driver

As with any collision, you should summon police officers to the scene to make a record of your crash. It’s imperative that you just state the facts when doing so.

You should have paramedics dispatched to the crash scene if you’ve suffered injuries. It’s always best to have a doctor check you out post-crash, even if you prefer not to go to a hospital by ambulance. Symptoms associated with internal organ damage or a brain injury may not manifest themselves for some time later. These injuries might have caused irreversible damage by the time symptoms appear.

What Rights Do You Have After a New Kentucky Licensee Strikes You?

Distracted, fatigued, and drunk driving can leave a motorist with significant injuries. If you couple that with driver inexperience, things can be worse. Our Golden Law Office car accident attorneys have extensive experience holding newly licensed, negligent motorists liable for the injuries that they caused. Let us help you recover fair compensation so that you can get the best care possible.

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