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Study finds teen drivers need more time in adverse conditions

Tue, 12 Oct 2010

Practice might make perfect, but not if the drills never change.

In a study organized by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study and the University of North Carolina Highway Safety Research Center, participating teen drivers averaged about an hour and a half of supervised driving each week--mostly on routine trips along the same roads.

At the end of the year-long study, 47 percent of parents said there was at least one driving condition they felt their student wasn't prepared to handle. One in three parents didn't think their teen was ready to drive alone in heavy traffic or on the highway. One in five said they didn't think their teen was ready to drive alone in the rain.

Even so, 35 percent of these families allowed their teens to get their licenses within a month of being eligible.

AAA recommends that parents should ensure their teen practices in all sorts of driving conditions.

“Humans learn complex tasks like driving more from direct experience than by being told what to do,” said Arthur Goodwin, the report's primary investigator. “Parents should ask themselves: Do I want my teen to learn how to handle bad weather, darkness, rush-hour traffic or narrow rural roads without me in the car?”

By Izzi Bendall