Arriving Safely - Tips For New Drivers
A new driver is not necessarily a teenager. It is not uncommon for new drivers to be an adult who has made the choice to become mobile. Regardless of the age of a new driver, they all have one thing in common, lack of experience. The most important thing new drivers can do is pay close attention not only to their own driving decisions, but to other drivers around them. Driving defensively is the key to driving safely.
- Teenage drivers are involved in 25% of motor vehicle accidents in the United States
- Motor vehicle accident is the leading cause of death for people from fifteen-years-old to twenty-years-old
Don’t become a motor vehicle accident statistic as a young or inexperienced driver. Follow these tips for new drivers and improve your chances of arriving safely at your destination:
Ditch The Phone
Distracted driving is dangerous driving. Make the driver’s seat a no-phone-zone. Resist the temptation to pick up your phone and take a peek at notifications when stopped at a red light. Refuse to even chat on speaker-phone. The best thing to do is turn it off and place it out of sight, perhaps even out of reach.
Before you even turn the key in the ignition, everyone fasten their seatbelts. Seatbelts save lives. In motor vehicle accidents resulting in fatalities for young people ages 16-20 years old, sixty percent of those killed were not wearing a seatbelt.
Easy On The Gas
Speed contributes to almost forty percent of car crashes in young male drivers under the age of twenty. Slow down. By slowing down drivers give themselves valuable seconds to practice better judgment and react safely.
Read Traffic Signs
Traffic signs often become so routine that drivers begin to ignore them. However, they are there for a reason. Posted speeds can change. Detours could be rapidly approaching. Hazardous construction sites might be nearby and require cautious navigation. Road conditions could be affected by weather. Don’t just blindly follow the traffic in front of you. Pay attention to the signs that inform you of your driving environment.
Allow plenty of room between your own car and the vehicle in front of you. Although it may seem that traffic is flowing smoothly, anything can happen in an instant. The driver in front of you could hit a patch of ice and skid out of control. An animal could dart out in the roadway in front of them causing them to slam on their brakes. The driver could have a medical emergency and suddenly come to a dead stop or veer out of control. You will need room to react quickly and respond safely. Allow for two car lengths or more between your own car and whoever is in the lead.
It may be worrisome to drive in the dark, rain or snow, but eventually you may be in a situation where you have to. These are important skills to have and be competent in. Practice driving in these conditions in a safe place until you gain the experience necessary to enable safe, confident driving in inclement weather or at night. Just because you have your license doesn’t mean you are ready for every driving situation. Continue to practice driving skills that need improvement.
Just as cellphones can distract driving and increase risk, passengers can do the same. Limit how many passengers are in the vehicle and be selective about who you let ride. Three or more passengers can greatly increase the risk of a fatality accident. Until you gain sufficient experience, drive alone or with someone who respects your need to not chat and be distracted.
Gaining your freedom by getting a driver’s license is exciting but it is also an incredible responsibility. Begin a lifetime of driving by taking it seriously. Take it slow. Establish guidelines for safety and stick to them. Pay attention and drive safely.