Risky Business: Why Teen Drivers are Getting It Wrong

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Teen Drivers

With friends, cell phones, texting and chatting causing distractions, parents have enough to worry about when their teens get behind the wheel of a car. Unfortunately, new concerns have come to the forefront, giving parents even more concern when their teen gets behind the wheel of their vehicle.  

Distracted driving used to be the primary concern for parents when their teens first received a driver’s license. Drugs and alcohol were also high on the list. Unfortunately, while schools and driver’s education instructors still focus of those serious dangers and repercussions, a new trend has hit the teen scene. Driving games have caught their interest, especially with the rage of social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

The following three driving games are some of the most popular amongst the teen population:

Tunnel Games

One such game that has appealed to the thrill of risky behavior sought after by many teens is the tunnel game. It’s a dangerous activity where teens intentionally hold their breath upon entering a tunnel on the road. This seemingly harmless feat could prove lethal for the driver and passengers in the vehicle. A 19-year-old teen in Washington State caused a 3-car pile-up by holding his breath. The teen fainted, crossed the center line of the highway and ran into oncoming traffic. In addition to the crash, four people were injured and left one of them in serious condition.


Parents can do their part to ensure their teen’s safety by setting a good example, and giving them set rules with firm consequences. However, games such as Fugitive may seem overwhelmingly tempting to a teenager. Facebook pages pay homage to this game, giving it the popularity it doesn’t deserve. Because there is a time parameter attached, the driving can take on a high rate of speed.

A driver, spotter and runners (fugitives) are participants in the activity. The object of the game is for the runners to get from areas point A and B without the driver catching them. The driver is also involved and chases after the runners with the help of the spotters. When the driver locates the fugitives, the car is immediately stopped and a chase ensues on foot. Boundaries are decided at the beginning of the dangerous game, and the players take turns swapping positions. An Arizona  17-year old died while playing this game, falling from the back of a pickup truck,

Car Surfing

Choosing the wrong friends and activities can prove dangerous if your child joins into driving activities such as car surfing. In addition to the driver, a teen who either holds onto the roof of the vehicle or side of the car is needed to play the game of car surfing. The driver then increases the speed as the other party tries to hang on. Sharp maneuvers are also included to help the driver shake off the passenger hanging on. Unfortunately, there are a number of YouTube videos dedicated to this dangerous driving game.

Teaching your teen to drive is a serious exercise for both the parent and child. One key piece of information they should have is that if a crash occurs, reaching out for medical and legal help can make the difference in saving a life and ensuring everybody knows their rights.

While a driver’s license gives your teen the gift of freedom, they need more education than how to park or what the speed limit is in a school zone. Making wise choices certainly increases with communication of the dangers of such games, and setting rules with severe consequences in case they break them. Driving is a privilege for those who reach the age of maturity. Unfortunately, teens may not make the wisest of choices when they get their license.


Holly Chavez is a multidisciplinary writer who enjoys writing entertaining and offbeat articles for families to enjoy. You can catch up to her on twitter @hollyleichavez


  1. Hello

    Everyday here in Saudi Arabia we hear about many road accidents and many students die in such accidents. Sometimes when I see boys showing their driving skill I get shocked. This is true that parents are lot more worried about their kids now when they are behind the wheel … there are many distractions that are dangerous and I feel that on road you can not play with lives. I feel sorry about 19 year old teen.
    Government must put ban on such games that really harm lives.

    • Yes, teens need to realize they can’t mess around on the road while driving. After all they could hurt more than just than themselves.

    • Holly Chavez says:

      I know, it’s a different world we are driving in now. Many more people on the road, distracted driving……and now this. Social media and the news play a huge role in this, also, I feel. There are some crazy TV shows that show crazy stunts, too. Some teens believe they are invincible and Risky Business-type antics can hurt them and the people around them. Glad you enjoyed the article.

  2. I did some REALLY stupid things as a teenager behind the wheel of a car. I’ve written about it once or twice and will do so again. It was glorifying THAT moment, not how I feel today as an adult with a huge amount of life experience and vehicle/traffic/fatalities under my belt with first hand knowledge. Gawd, I hope “we” can begin to curb (eliminate would be a perfect world) these activities before more teen deaths occur or deaths of any person due to a reckless teen. Absolutely awesome post, Holly! Thank you for sharing her with us, Krystle 🙂

  3. Susan Cooper says:

    It is so sad that teenagers do not realize the cause and effect of their actions. There are so many who play a “harmless” game and it ends with hurting themselves or others. 🙂

  4. This is scary. I have a new teen driver and I’ve never heard of any of these. It sounds like this is another discussion I need to have. My son is not a risk taker, but I’ve been around the block enough to never say never.

    • It is very scary Michelle! And even with non risk takers they sometimes follow the crowd so it’s always a good idea to have a chat about your concerns.

    • Holly Chavez says:

      Hi Michelle. I have a teen that age, too. He has just started driving and so far so good. A lot of teens think they are invincible, and that’s part of the problem.

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