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Longtime driving instructor gives advice on sharing the roads with young drivers

Texas came in second in a recent study that ranked states by their percentage of young driver fatalities.

DALLAS — In his decades of teaching young drivers in North Texas, Andy Zihlman says things on the roads have changed a lot! 

“We have a lot more traffic. We're getting to look a lot like Houston and Los Angeles even a little bit just because of so many more drivers," he said. 

After more than 40 years on the job, Zihlman continues his important role as a driving instructor for teens at Bishop Lynch High School. 

An Ohio personal injury lawyer used data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration from 2017 to 2021 to rank the states that have the most dangerous roads for 16 to 24-year-olds – the Lone Star State came in second for most driver fatalities.  

According to those numbers, young drivers make up 19.06% of all driver fatalities in the state. That translates to 2,292 young driver killed over the five-year period studied.

Rhode Island ranked as the deadliest state for young drivers at 19.81%, with Utah landing in third.

While there’s no single solution, Zihlman said being mindful of those around you can make a big impact. 

“We all have to be more open to drivers who are either beginning drivers or the elderly, to that might drive a little slower, or maybe be a little confused, he said. “Worst thing you can do is start honking and trying to invade their territory."

And for new drivers – aside from mastering the basics, getting more practice in areas they’re struggling with is crucial. As the region grows, Zihlman says highway driving is where young drivers need some extra practice these days.

He also urges those who are learning to stay vigilant on the roads, watch their speed, and continue the good habits they build as they're practicing. 

The longtime driving instructor also had good advice for everyone on the roads. 

"I think we need to be more courteous to all drivers to keep traffic moving better, and more friendly."

As always, if you have a traffic concern in your area, you can email us here.

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