Everyone ends up here at some point in their adolescent life, people are starting to get off the bus and into cars, peers around you are no longer accepting rides from mom and dad. Simply put, your friends have cars and freedom. Every teenager craves freedom and the ability to leave the house in control of where you are going and the vehicle that takes you there. Becoming a new driver in the community can be fun certainly, but it is also a huge responsibility that needs to be taken seriously for yourself and those around you both in and out of your vehicle. There are a few tips that can help you maintain that safety on the road while still allowing you to go about your newfound freedom.
A great way to understand the rules of the road is to enroll in a local drivers ed course for student drivers. This option can often be found through your local school district or your local DMV. Drivers education courses can help make you a safer, more rounded driver. Often, it can also help you receive discounts on your insurance. Talk to your local agent today.
The next step is to avoid distractions. There is no true set of rules as people are all so different from each other, but there are the legal rules. Don’t be on your phone when driving. The people on the other end of the phone can wait until you can park your car or get to your planned destination. Not only is cellphone use while driving dangerous, but if texting, also illegal. Being caught texting and driving could lead to a ticket, which leads to higher insurance prices, raising your rates. Edgar Snyder and Associates Law firm found that approximately 660,000 drivers attempt to use their phones while behind the wheel of their car. The National Safety Counsel reports that cell phone use while driving leads to 1.6 million crashes each year and that nearly 390,000 injuries occur each year from accidents in relation to texting while driving. In fact, texting while driving creates the likelihood that crashing is 6 times more likely to cause a car crash than driving drunk. Did you know that traveling at 55mph, you can travel across a football field in 5 seconds? Did you know it takes around 5 seconds to answer a text while driving? Meaning you can drive across a football field before your eyes are back on the road. Teen drivers are 4 times more likely to get into an accident for phone related reasons than adults, according to Edgar Snyder’s law firm. So put the phones to the side while you drive moving forward.
When it comes to music, know yourself. Know what tunes will cause higher distractions than others and go with the less distracting songs for you. Drive Safely Driving School suggestions making your driving playlist before you leave your destination so that you don’t have to change the music while you drive. Purchasing a hands-free driving aid, such as attaching your phone to the Bluetooth of the car for calls or placing your phone on a hands-free platform can help with answering calls or changing songs without having to take your eyes off the road or touch your device. Always keep those eyes moving! There is always going to be something happening in front, behind and beside you. This sounds intimidating, but with time and practice it will become second nature to look in your mirrors and check around you as you drive. Keeping eye movement is important because it keeps the brain active and keeps vision fresh, as keeping your eyes in the same place for long narrows your vision, as your eyes grow tired.
Don’t follow close behind other drivers. Ever. Otherwise known as tailgating, following close behind other drivers can hinder the ability to stop in time when the car in front of you needs to stop or slow down. Following too closely behind could lead in an accident that will require insurance to take part in helping you repair your vehicle and the vehicle of those who the crash was with. This could lead to higher insurance prices and additional car repair prices, along with possible legal fees. The driver in front on you may also become agitated with such a close driver behind them. Respect yourself and others and offer the space on the road that is created for safety.
Different driving scenarios can lead to more stressful driving, more distracted driving, and more mindless driving. Some examples would be heavy traffic, driving with people or pets, and driving an often-repeated path or open roads. When driving in heavy traffic locations, often cities, stress can rise and the chance of encountering more angry drivers around you skyrockets. Prepare for mental stress and more hazards and road rage when driving in a city. When driving with multiple people or pets in the car, you are far more likely to be distracted while driving because you are most likely also interacting and entertaining. While it feels like it, the brain can’t multitask as much as it seems, and singing along to loud music while laughing with your friends can be a hazard on the road if too much is going on around you. Driving on the same route often or driving in open roads with small amounts of traffic can lead to mindless driving because once you put your car in cruise your mind may wonder because the immediate challenges of the road drop in number. You should stay just as aware as driving in populated areas though, as unexpected dangers can occur on those open roads and a prepared mind is a safe mind.
Practice being a defensive driver by planning ahead for the unexpected, being able to control the speed, being prepared to react to others, never expect drivers to do what you think they are going to do, and always respect the other drivers on the roadway. Remember when you climb into a vehicle to always be aware of changes in the road conditions, and the weather conditions for the day. By practicing the defensive driver techniques, you will be able to avoid dangers on the road, while keeping a respect for the other drivers on the road.
Check your blind spot manually before changing or entering a new lane. Many cars have blind spots that happen to be in passing zones of vehicles, the best way to avoid these blind spots becoming hazards is to turn your neck to manually check that spot. Of course, don’t spend too much time doing so, as you also have to check the traffic in front of you as well. The comforting news is that many vehicles are being upgraded to check these spots for you and help you be more aware of the areas around your vehicle.
Know your vehicle. Vehicles can carry you a long way if you take care of them, but just like athletes they need regular maintenance to keep them covering those distances for you. Do you need to know all the answers to every breakdown? No. You should know a few simple things to help you get from point a to point b. Some of those things are replacing your windshield wipers, knowing how to check and refill your vehicle fluids, checking your tire pressure, checking your headlights and taillights, knowing the schedule of basic car maintenance, such as how many miles between oil changes, understanding your shock and strut systems, being aware of your air filter, having an emergency roadside kit, having a tow rope, understanding the health of your breaks, and having the number of a good mechanic that you trust. Knowing these aspects of your car can help you understand how to handle new noises in your car that aren’t supposed to be there, and help you get to the mechanic and talk to the mechanic about the issue of your car when there is one.
Hitting the open road can be exciting and freeing, but always be cautious, get educated, stay away from the distractions, use your head and of course practice! By using these skills and many more that you will learn in your growing experience, your chances of keeping yourself safe and those around you when driving will increase drastically. Enjoy that newfound freedom and drive safe!