As a new driver, you’re excited for your freedom; to get on the road and go wherever you want, when you want (with your parent’s permission of course!). But the excitement of driving can often cause new drivers to forget proper driving etiquette – things that can often be the difference between life and death on the road.
Last year, the CDC reported that 2,333 teens in the United States ages 16–19 were killed and 221,313 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes. With such staggering statistics demonstrating the dangers of teenage driving, it’s important that young and new drivers steer clear of a few things when they’re on the road.
Many new drivers have the need for speed. While there’s no research as to why new drivers like to speed from one place to another, abiding by the speed limit is a necessity for staying safe on the road. This includes not swerving between lanes, passing other drivers in the slow lanes on the freeway, and accelerating through yellow lights. Not only can driving the speed limit keep your life as a driver safe, it can keep others on the road safe as well.
Not Buckling Up
We’ve all heard the safe driving slogan, “Click it or Ticket” and for good reason! A simple click of a seatbelt can ensure you’re safe, especially in case of an accident. In many cases, a seatbelt can be the difference between life and death.
Calling and Texting
Today’s teenagers have grown up with their cellphone, and likely want to talk to their friends as they drive, whether it’s to let their friends know they’re on the way or even to reply to a quick text. While you may be a wiz on your cellphone, practically able to text and navigate through apps without looking, all it takes is a split second to lose focus of the road and get into an accident. With more and more fatal accidents being caused due to drivers taking their hands off the wheel to use their cell phone, texts and calls really can wait.
Focusing on Passengers
It doesn’t seem like having friends in the car will hamper your driving ability. However, all it takes is an energetic conversation or a discussion to get out of hand and for you to lose sight of the road, even if only for a second or two. At the least, it’s not going as soon as a stoplight turns from red to green, but at worse, it’s getting t-boned in an intersection because you accidentally ran the light.
While most new drivers are taught the above mentioned things during their driving courses and are tested on these safety items in order to pass their test and get their license, it’s important to remind teenagers of what not to do while driving to maintain their safety as well as the safety of other drivers on the road.