According to a study from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, members of the millennial generation are by far the most likely to engage in dangerous driving behaviors. Risky driving habits cause millennial drivers to succumb to the highest number of car collisions, which results in the largest number of vehicle-related fatalities of any age range. In fact, the age group that comes closest to millennial rates of collisions is the elderly — who are not choosing to drive dangerously but who simply cannot see, hear or react as well as they once could.

Traffic accidents are the number-one cause of death amongst members of the millennial generation. If we want to survive and thrive into old age like the boomers before us, we need to identify the driving mistakes that are putting us at risk. Here are a few ways millennials are messing up on the road and how we can become better drivers into the future.


The world’s first speed limit was created in 1901 as a means of increasing road safety, which was a significant concern as roadways were shared by motorists, horse-driven carts, pedestrians and more. Since then, researchers have found many benefits to managing speeds of vehicles, from reducing the number of traffic collisions to improving fuel economy of oil-powered vehicles.

Still, not every driver respects posted speed limits. Younger drivers, specifically, are more likely to push the gas pedal a bit further than other drivers, and millennials continue to fall into that category. Studies have found that millennials appreciate completing almost every task with greater speed, which they perceive as improving convenience and saving time. Plus, because younger people tend to have faster reflexes, they often feel that they can navigate the shifting challenges on roadways without falling victim to a collision.

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Unfortunately, speeding is one of the top causes of road collisions. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the less time a driver has to react to a new obstacle, and the more time is required to bring the vehicle to a stop. In particularly sensitive areas, like residential neighborhoods or school zones, even traveling five miles per hour above the speed limit can make a vehicle uncontrollable in an emergency. Millennials are much more likely than other drivers to find it acceptable to travel upwards of 10 miles per hour faster than posted limits, which is a belief that we must dispel to ensure the roads are as safe as possible for everyone.

Running Lights

The world’s first traffic light, which was erected in London, predates the world’s first car by decades. Traffic lights have long been essential for creating order on roads by providing drivers with clear patterns for stopping and moving. Because drivers have precious few methods of communicating with one another, traffic lights allow everyone on the road to understand when it is their turn to go.

Yet, millennials seem to have little respect for traffic lights. More than other generations, millennials surveyed found it appropriate to continue moving through a newly turned red light rather than try to stop before an intersection. To keep up the flow of traffic, a red light in one direction signals that there is a green light for another direction. Thus, drivers who pass through a red light, even one newly turned red, put themselves at risk of some of the worst traffic collisions.

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In truth, reducing speed is a good way to avoid the issue of running red lights. Millennials who are traveling at posted speeds are more likely to adhere to the traffic patterns predicted and programmed into traffic lights, which means they are less likely to encounter any need to speed up or slow down at a yellow light. Regardless, though pressing hard on the brakes may feel uncomfortable, it is the safer option in almost every circumstance.

Texting While Driving

Millennials were the first generation to grow up with the opportunity to remain in constant contact with friends and family members through mobile texting. Now, most people are perpetually invested in text conversations with loved ones, acquaintances, professional contacts and more. However, because texting requires an individual’s entire attention — their visual focus, mental concentration, physical application and more — texting is a dangerous activity to perform while behind the wheel.

Most states have laws that aggressively restrict any type of mobile phone use by drivers of moving vehicles. Still, millennials are roughly twice as likely as other generations to attempt to text while driving. To break this habit, it might be useful for millennial drivers to engage with continuous driver safety training, which will provide them with better habits for focused on the road.

Millennials are getting older, and that means the bad driving habits we developed in our youth are causing more and more problems on roadways. The sooner we work to improve the way we drive, the longer we can live to enjoy the freedom and excitement of being behind the wheel.

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