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Data shows teen driving habits can be predictor of car crashes

If the results of a new study are any indication, parents shouldn't just brush it off when they notice their teenage children making sharp turns or braking abruptly when they drive. It shouldn't be surprising, but the study finds that this kind of driving pattern often leads teens to be involved in car accidents.

Researchers with the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development used cameras and computers to determine g-force events while teens drove. The study followed 42 new teen drivers across an 18-month period, according to a Reuters Health article.

The study revealed that an increase in g-force events, such as sharp turns and screeching halts, led to an increase in car accidents or near crashes. Of the 68,000 driving trips the teens took, 37 involved crashes. There were also 242 incidents that nearly led to accidents.

What researchers took away from the study is that teens' driving patterns can be predictors of whether or not they will be involved in accidents. That means parents should follow their instincts if they feel their son or daughter is developing some bad driving habits.

One thing parents can do is give their children feedback about their driving if they notice anything amiss. They can also ask them not to drive in cases of extreme weather until they get a little more experience behind the wheel. A more extreme measure might be purchasing an electronic device that can give feedback about a teen's driving, although they are expensive and not necessarily practical.

Source:, "Risky starts and stops predict teen crashes," Feb. 20, 2012

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