Sure, there are a lot of teens on the road who are safer than more experienced drivers. However, it’s a fact that teenage drivers account for more traffic collisions than drivers in any other age group. If you’ve just got your license, you need to acknowledge your lack of experience, and take steps to keep you, your passengers, and other drivers as safe as possible. Here are a few tips for this…
Turn your Phone Off
For almost every teenager in a developed country, their phone is an extension of their hand. If you catch yourself reaching for your phone and scrolling through social media feeds when there’s really nothing to see, it would be smart to make a habit of turning your phone off before every journey, at least for now. Driving while using a phone is extremely dangerous, which is why an increasing number of states are bringing in laws which prohibit using your phone at the wheel. Studies have indicated that driving while on your phone can be just as dangerous as driving drunk, which we’ll get onto later. Glancing down to skip a song or to put a call on speaker is relatively safe, but until you become more confident on the road, turning the thing off is a good precaution to take.
Don’t Drink – Not Even One
As a teen, you’ve probably already been bombarded with media telling you how dangerous drink driving is. Most teens are smart enough not to get behind the wheel when they’re seeing double, but they’re also cocky enough to drive after one or two drinks. Your parents may not think twice about giving you some money for gas, but if you approach them about hiring a DUI lawyer, they’re probably going to have a few questions! Even if you only feel a little buzzed, any amount of alcohol in your system is going to slow your reactions and make you much more likely to have a potentially fatal crash. Don’t believe your friends’ myths about drinking coffee, chewing gum, or having a nap – these tricks don’t work! Have the sense and self-discipline to say no to any amount of alcohol when you know you’re driving later.
Drive by Yourself
Before you got your license, it’s almost certain that you always had a more experienced driver in the car with you, guiding you through the steps of maneuvers, pointing out hazards, and trying to keep you focussed on the road. This is a world apart from having four friends in the car – one of them singing along to the stereo, two of them bickering and one asking you question after question about your new car. To make sure these distractions don’t put you at risk of a crash, we recommend a week or two of driving by yourself, and seeing how competent you are without any guidance from your parent or an instructor. This will help you to keep focussed on the road ahead, which can make all the difference when you come to a potentially dangerous situation.