As the new school year begins, reviewing some safety tips for driving is essential. Teenagers are especially vulnerable on the road, so following these guidelines can help keep them safe. Whether your teen is just starting high school or gearing up for college, make sure they know how to stay safe behind the wheel. Here are a few key tips to remember when driving in mixed traffic.
1. 10-Minute Rule
Teen drivers need to get into the habit of leaving 10 minutes early. Running late for a class can leave students stressed and scrambled, which could significantly distract them on the road. This also leaves teens prone to speeding, tailgating, and weaving through traffic which can put other drivers at risk of an accident.
2. Lookout for Buses
School buses are designed to transport large numbers of children safely and efficiently. However, they can also be a source of danger for teenage drivers unfamiliar with their size and maneuverability. Drivers should slow down when approaching a school bus and be prepared to stop. They should also yield the right of way to the bus when turning or merging into traffic.
3. Eliminate Distractions
With so many new things to pay attention to, teenage drivers must eliminate distractions before getting behind the wheel. This means no cell phones, no music, and no passengers. By removing these distractions, new drivers can focus on the task at hand and become safer, more responsible drivers.
4. Hold Off on Carpooling
As any teenage driver knows, getting behind the wheel for the first time can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. While it's tempting to want to share the experience with friends, it's critical to resist the urge and limit passengers to parents or other adults. The reason for this is simple: teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents when they have passengers in the car.
Studies have shown that teenage drivers are more likely to take risks when they have friends in the car, leading to a higher incidence of accidents. In addition, teenage passengers can be a distraction, making it more difficult for the driver to pay attention to the road. For these reasons, it's best for teenage drivers to limit their passengers to parents or other adults for the first few months of driving.
5. Wear a Seatbelt
Seatbelts have been shown to be effective in reducing the risk of serious injury or death in a car accident. In fact, seatbelts are so effective that they are estimated to save over 14,000 lives each year in the United States. Despite this, many teenage drivers still fail to wear seatbelts regularly—this is likely due to a combination of factors, including peer pressure and a sense of invincibility.
However, it is vital for teenagers to remember that seatbelts can save lives. Wearing a seatbelt is the best way to protect oneself in the event of an accident. Therefore, all teenage drivers should make sure to buckle up before hitting the road.
6. Get Some Rest
It's no secret that teenagers are not known for their love of mornings. With early classes, extracurricular activities, and part-time jobs, getting eight hours of shut-eye can be tough. However, driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving while under the influence of alcohol. If your teenager fails to get enough sleep, carpooling with another friend or parent may be their best and safest option.
7. Mind the School Zone
Obeying all rules in a school zone is vital for the safety of everyone. School zones are typically areas around schools with many pedestrians, and the speed limit is lower to account for this. By obeying traffic signals and signs, drivers can avoid confusion and help keep traffic flow moving smoothly.
8. Be Cautious in Inclement Weather
Bad weather can make driving conditions more difficult and dangerous. Here are a few tips to help your loved ones stay safe on the road in bad weather:
- Slow down and allow extra time to reach your destination.
- Increase the distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
- Be aware of possible slick spots, such as bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas.
- Use your low beams when driving in fog.
- Don't use cruise control in wet or icy conditions.
- Watch out for pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists, who may be harder to see in bad weather.
9. Parking Dos and Don'ts
Parking in a busy parking lot can be a challenge. There are a few things your teenager can do to make it easier. First, tell them to arrive early. This will give them the best selection of parking spots and will minimize the chances of having to park far away from their destination.
If they must park in a crowded lot, look for a spot that is near the edge or in a less crowded section. They should also avoid parking next to large vehicles, as they can block your view when backing out.
Regarding car maintenance, there are a few key things that all teenagers should keep in mind. First and foremost, it is essential to read the owner’s manual and become familiar with the different components of your car. This will help them understand how their car works and what maintenance tasks need to be performed regularly. Additionally, it is necessary to stay up-to-date on their car’s maintenance, including changing the oil, filter, and additional fluids required to run.
No one ever wants to see their child get hurt, but unfortunately, car accidents are a reality of modern life. If your teen has recently been in a car accident, you may be feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to turn. The good news is that you have options, and we are here to help you decide what’s best for your family.
Personal Injury Attorneys
If you would like to take legal action after your teenager’s car accident, we may be able to help you. The car accident attorneys at Pearson Butler have years of experience navigating the legal system and will walk you through each step of the process, so you don’t feel alone. If your family has been affected by a car accident, don't hesitate to reach out for help.
Contact our firm at (800) 265-2314 or fill out a consultation request form to get in touch with one of our personal injury attorneys.