I remember when I first got a driver’s license. I can best describe the feeling like one of pure “freedom”. Even with all of the hoops that new drivers must jump through to obtain a license to drive in Texas, most teenagers are ill prepared for safe driving. The following are safety tips for teenage drivers that we all should practice.
1. Always wear your seatbelt.
It’s the law and in Texas, the driver must not only wear their seatbelt, but they must ensure that their passengers under the age of 17 also buckle up.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, in 2018 over 2600 people were killed who were not wearing seatbelts. Just putting on your seatbelt increases your chances by 50% of surviving a car wreck. Fines can be up to $200 for failure to wear a seatbelt in Texas.
TIP: Always BUCKLE UP AND MAKE SURE YOUR PASSENGERS DO AS WELL!
2. Watch your speed.
One of the biggest factors for teenage drivers particularly boys is driving in excess of a safe speed for conditions. Not only do teenage drivers frequently drive in excess of the safe speed but they fail to allow a safe distance between the vehicle in front of them.
TIP: DRIVE WITHIN THE SPEED LIMIT AND ALLOW MORE DISTANCE BETWEEN VEHICLES IN FRONT OF YOU!
3. Know your car.
It takes only a short time to become familiar with how the vehicle you are driving operates. Such things as activating turn signals, knowing where the warning flashers are and how to adjust the seats for safe and comfortable operation are important details. Also, adjusting the mirror and learning the controls for the radio and AC can reduce the chance of being distracted while searching for something.
If you do not have an owner’s manual, almost all vehicles today have online access to important instructions about the operation of the vehicle. Spend a few moments to become familiar with the car.
TIP: LEARN THE CONTROLS OF THE CAR YOU ARE DRIVING
4. Watch out for blind spots.
Many teenage accidents happen simply because the new driver is inexperienced. One area that occurs frequently is the blind spot accident. While newer vehicles now may be equipped with warning indicators for vehicles approaching from the side, most older vehicles do not have this safety protection. Checking your mirrors prior to making a lane change is a must. More importantly, not being in a hurry to make a lane change so you can check more than one time and signal your intentions. This helps to ensure that there is not someone in the lane you’re moving into and also gives other motorists a chance to know you are moving over.
5. Drive friendly.
Probably the most important safety to of the bunch is simply to drive friendly. By that I mean, take pleasure in allowing another vehicle to go first. Show courtesy to other drivers. The simple golden rule can prevent accidents and also increase your joy of driving. Alternatively, people can become angry and experience road rage at aggressive driving by others. Let it go. When you let another driver go first even though it may be your turn it can be a great feeling. Just drive friendly!
TIP: DRIVE FRIENDLY – IT FEELS GOOD!
6. Signal your intentions.
By always using your turn indicators you are giving other drivers notice and where you are going. If you are going to turn, turn on your turn signals. The drivers know where you’re going. If traffic is stopping ahead, put your brakes to alert vehicles behind you. The more information they have about your intentions the safer the ride will be. Alternatively, always be on the lookout for drivers signaling may not turn. Sometimes people forget their turn indicators are on and if they are traveling at a speed that does not look like they’re slowing down to turn you may want to be wary.
TIP: ALWAYS USE YOUR TURN SIGNALS
7. Leave room to stop.
An old rule of thumb is allowed one car length for every 10 mph of speed. Sometimes in Houston traffic, it is difficult to have that much space in between your car and the car in front of you due to traffic congestion. Do the best you can and never ever, tailgate. Rear end car accidents can happen in a fraction of a second. Get as big a safety cushion as you can and if someone is tailgating you, find a way to safely move over and let them pass. If you are in front of an 18-wheeler, understand that they take much longer to stop shooting emergency braking be necessary. When in doubt move out of their way.
TIP: ALLOW PLENTY OF ROOM BETWEEN VEHICLES
8. Keep your eyes on the road.
Distracted driving is becoming an epidemic for all ages but particularly teenage drivers. Put your cell phone on silent and put it down. Don’t pick your phone up until you arrive at your destination. It truly can wait. Distracted driving includes more than just texting or browsing on your cell phone. Take your eyes off the road is simply dangerous whether it is adjusting the radio, looking at your makeup or any other activity that takes draws off the highway. If you are a passenger insist your driver puts their cell phone down.
TIP: DON’T LET LOL BECOME DOA!
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