New Study Reveals Teen Drivers Lack Basic Safety Knowledge

While most teens are more than excited to get that coveted driver’s permit, a new study just released by Michelin and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile reveals that teen drivers may be less than ready to drive, lacking the basic safe driving knowledge and skills they need.  According to the study, this lack of education may result in nearly 300,000 preventable car crashes involving inexperienced drivers each year.

According to the study, which surveyed 1,001 U.S. teen drivers ranging from 15 to 17 years along with their parents, many of these young drivers lack the ability to change a tire, spot insufficient tread depth, or check tire pressure. This knowledge gap has led to serious consequences:

“Of the 2.2 million vehicle accidents per year, 12 percent are among inexperienced drivers and involve tire-related issues such as insufficient tire tread or improperly inflated tires, a number which is nearly three times higher than with experienced drivers. That equates to one accident every two minutes.”

Michelin North America Inc. Chairman Pete Selleck wants to raise awareness about the issue, and  wants to see driver education programs address the issue of preventable accidents, which too often end in death. He’d like to see state governments expand or add tire-safety education in driver-education courses. Reportedly, only 16 states currently require tire-safety information as part of their driver education programs. As Selleck notes, “It’s troubling to see this data and know that underinflated tires, or tires with worn treads are contributing to these accidents.”

If you have a teen driver at home, contact your driver education instructor to see if they include tire safety programs. If not, take some time to educate them on topics like handling a blow out, handling hydroplaning, and proper tire care. Investing the time now will lead to safe driving habits for a lifetime!

Don’t Blow It During a Blowout!

Even experienced drivers  know what a frightening situation it is to have a tire blow out while driving at highway speeds. Keeping your tires well-maintained and at the right pressure is important for preventing a blowout, but road debris can destroy a perfectly good tire at any time.

If you happen to be in the unfortunate situation of a blowout, try to remember not to panic. It’s essential that you retain control and balance of your vehicle. If you hit the brakes too hard or take your foot off the accelerator too quickly, you will lose stability and control.

The most effective way to maneuver through a tire blowout is to first slowly take your foot off the accelerator. Then, as you gradually reduce speed, correct your steering until you regain control and stabilize the vehicle. By this time it should be safe for you to slowly pull off the road. No matter which side of the vehicle, or whether the blow occurs in the front or back, a tire blow out should always be handled the same way.

Though you should handle every blowout the same way, front and rear tire blowouts do not feel the same. A front blowout is felt in the steering of the vehicle, while a rear blowout is felt in the vehicle’s body.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) website,, has some helpful flash animation videos that demonstrate what to do and what not to do in the event of a blow out:

What not to do in a front tire blowout situation.

What to do in a front tire blowout situation