There are numerous personal factors that determine how much of a risk someone poses to others out on the road. Whether someone has their full focus on the task of driving or not and their sobriety can have a major effect on their safety and the safety of anyone else if they encounter in traffic.
Another factor that people don’t consider as frequently is the experience level of the driver. When people talk about how dangerous teenage drivers are, too much focus goes to stereotypical teenage behaviors and not enough to how inexperience is truly the culprit for many teenage collisions.
Teen drivers are not the only ones who may be inexperienced. Those who have gone long times without driving, those moving to new climates with different road conditions and those who never got their license when they were younger could all cause inexperience-related collisions.
Drivers need practice to know how to react
The faster the rate of travel in a vehicle, the more important it becomes for someone to react instantaneously to a child running in the road or another vehicle screeching to a stop. There are so many unpredictable circumstances on the road that the theory behind them can start to seem abstract.
Someone who has never lost control of their vehicle, for example, would probably forget the first time that it happened how their driving instructor told them to turn into the spin and not to fight it. It is only after someone has had to react to heart-stopping moments in traffic that they gain the kind of skills that are necessary to prevent collisions from occurring.
Inexperienced drivers simply won’t react appropriately when something else unexpected happens. The few extra seconds it takes them to cognitively process the situation and attempt to respond could make all the difference.
What this means for traffic safety
Those attempting to acclimate to new areas or to educate new drivers should remember that the bare minimum requirements for practice hours set by the state are usually not enough to make someone a safe and confident driver.
Encouraging as much practice as possible while supervised and in safe circumstances is key to helping inexperienced drivers gain the confidence they need to safely control a motor vehicle. For those not attempting to learn about driving or educate others, the main takeaway might be that one never knows when an inexperienced driver might put them at risk. It is usually safest to assume that other people will make mistakes in traffic rather than expecting them to consistently do the safest and smartest thing.
Drivers who recognize and adjust their habits for common traffic safety issues, like inexperienced motorists, will have an easier time avoiding major crashes.