In 2023, a study of American drivers found that only 41.2% can be considered safe drivers. That means 58.8% of drivers are considered unsafe. WTH, America?
There are lots of different ways drivers are being unsafe. And many of those disappointing driving behaviors have made their way onto our list of driving trends to watch for in 2024. But it’s not all doom and gloom. There are some bright spots in the data as well.
Let’s look at the driving trends to watch for in 2024 (and how they affect you and yours).
Increased Anxiety Among Teen Drivers
Today’s teens are smart. And they know what’s going on in the world. They know that the odds of a crash are highest among inexperienced drivers. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16 to 19-year-olds is nearly three times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over. No wonder these young drivers are anxious!
A 2023 Aceable Survey in California found that 73% of parents reported their teens being anxious about driving. A separate nationwide Aceable survey found that 83% of drivers who started driving during the pandemic era of 2020-2022 reported driving anxiety.
The good news is that there are multiple ways parents can help anxious teen drivers including:
Acknowledging that their feelings are valid and can be used to create safer driving habits.
Teaching them to think like a driver, even while they’re riding shotgun.
Distractions, Distractions Everywhere
Every driver faces multiple distractions every time they get in the car:
Ew, I hate this song…better skip it…or maybe search for a better playlist.
What are those kids fighting about back there? I swear I will turn this car around!
I should have enough time at this stop sign to put on a little mascara.
Do I know that person? Let me just keep staring until I figure it out.
If I take really big bites, I can finish this burger before I pull into the parking lot.
Just need to check that notification on my phone real quick to see if it’s important.
Distracted driving is a serious problem. While the numbers are still being tallied for 2023, we saw a marked rise in distracted driving from 2021 to 2022.
You might not be able to eliminate distractions, but you can reduce distractions while driving. Set your playlist and navigation before putting the vehicle in drive. And for the love of all that’s good and holy, put your phone on Do Not Disturb.
(Over) Reliance on Technology
Smart tech features are making our cars safer. Backup cameras, pedestrian detection, and auto emergency brakes can all prevent accidents. But a recent study found that they might also be making drivers more compliant behind the wheel. Just look at some of these stats:
61% of respondents said they were more comfortable briefly looking away from the road because of their car’s safety features.
58% of those with pedestrian detection admit they are less likely to manually check for pedestrians.
Half of drivers with drowsiness detection say they’re more likely to drive while tired because they have this feature.
The lesson here: take advantage of the tech-boosted safety features, but don’t expect them to do all the work for you. If you want to boost your driving skills, consider taking a defensive driving course in 2024.
Online Driver’s Ed Is On the Rise
The pandemic confirmed that driving principles can be taught in an online format. And nearly 30 states now allow online driver’s ed courses for state licensure. Additionally, innovative programs, like Texas’ Parent Taught Driver’s Ed, have empowered parents to be involved in the process of making sure their teens are safe drivers.
Self-pacing. Take as much time as you need to get comfortable with the concepts.
Bite-sized lessons. Don’t burn yourself out on long, tedious chapters. Quick lessons are easier to digest.
Engaging content. Images, videos, games, and reviews help make the material memorable.