Young drivers, in construction-heavy, rush hour traffic, are paying little mind to driving courteously. And that may be why a third of all drivers accused of road rage are in their 20’s and are responsible for more accidents than any other age group. Take a defensive driving class so that when you think: are young drivers enraged more or more out of control than in the past? It now appears that some of that baffling behavior of a teenager may be the result of neurobiology, and not raging hormones. As for my teenage daughter, she must be going through a large dose of both at the same time. Unfortunately, she and I simultaneously going through our own raging hormone parade. I had her when I was older. So, she’s going through puberty, while I’m going through menopause. You’ve probably seen the “fight” on Youtube. Sometimes we pass each other in the hallway and don’t even speak, nor do we make eye contact. It’s like walking down any sidewalk in New York City.
For many years it was thought that brain development was set at a fairly early age. By the time teen years were reached the brain was thought to be largely finished. However, scientists doing cutting-edge research using MRI, have found data contrary to these beliefs. It now appears the brain continues to change into the early 20’s with the frontal lobes, responsible for reasoning and problem solving, developing last. That must be why teenagers think and act differently. In calm situations, teenagers can rationalize almost as well as adults. But stress can hijack decision making. The frontal lobes help put the brakes (no pun intended) on a desire for thrills and risk taking. But they are also one of the last areas of the brain to develop fully. Added stress such as school, her first job, an immature boyfriend that always says the wrong things, certainly add to an already edgy situation. So, perhaps young drivers are more enraged for more reasons than we thought.
This is also why teenagers are four times as likely as older drivers to be involved in a crash and three times as likely to die in one. Oh, and four times more likely to be throttled by their parents for having a smart mouth. The parts of their brains related to emotions and decision-making are still in the works at that age. As their brains undergo rewiring, teenagers are particularly vulnerable to risky behavior, such as drinking and driving too fast. So, brain immaturity can explain why the teen crash rate is so high.
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And, I will be back next week with an all new show!
Daun Thompson

Young drivers enraged – Comedy Defensive Driving