Adolescent Physiology and Effect on Driving

The licensing process is designed to develop excellent driving abilities over time. This is why a young person starts in 10th grade (around age 15), is eligible for a learner’s permit at age 15 and 6 months, and after holding that for 90 days, can earn a driver’s license. This is often the first step in creating a graduated driver licensing system. Graduated driver licensing (GDL) systems are designed to provide new drivers with driving experience and skills gradually over time beginning in low-risk environments. Such licensing laws have dramatically reduced the rate of fatal teen driver crashes.

By devoting extra time to establishing good driving habits, you are helping your own brain development. The time and attention you devote to instilling good, safe driving habits in your teen will help to create automatic responses that may very well save the life of your teen in an emergency situation. 

There are a variety of mental and emotional factors in all of us that can lead to crashes and road fatalities. When we experience emotional tensions, we must understand that these can affect our driving performance. Emotional stress can cause a driver to react differently in a given situation. It is vital to recognize these symptoms before attempting to get behind-the-wheel. Understanding our own moods, attitudes, and how to change our thinking is critical to mature effective decision-making, and better, safer driving.

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