For many young people, one of the most exciting moments is the day they get their driver’s license. The powers-at-be have decided that you’re ready to hit the open road, and you feel like you’ve never had more freedom. But, like most things in life, perfecting the art of driving can take years of experience. Being a safe driver is a life-long responsibility.
Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best driving tips for teens and other beginner drivers. Read on so you can hit the road with confidence.
Practice Makes Perfect
The only way to get better at anything is to practice. Getting plenty of time behind the wheel with instructors and trusted adults can give you invaluable experience. Taking the time to practice tricky driving maneuvers, such as parallel parking, will make you a pro before you know it. Go easy on yourself the first few months, and know that you will get better at it.
Studies have shown that younger drivers who have other passengers in the car are more likely to get into car accidents. While it’s undeniably more fun to have all your friends in the car with you, it’s also much more dangerous. To keep you and your friends safe, do everyone a favor and take separate cars when you’re driving places.
Buckle Up for Safety
We know, you’ve probably heard this one thousands of times before, but that doesn’t make it any less true! Wearing a seat belt can decrease your risk of dying in the event of a car crash by around 45%, and, in 2014, seat belt use saved over 12,000 lives. Make the smart choice and buckle up!
Put That Phone Away
You’re probably sick of hearing adults telling you to put your phone away, but it’s crucial when you’re driving. In most states, it’s illegal for anyone behind the wheel to be using a cell phone, but the consequences for an underage driver using a phone are much more severe. Get into the habit of not looking at your phone while driving while you’re young — it’ll be much harder to break as the years go by.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
When you’re new to driving, you’re much more likely to get lost, leave your car in risky places and generally put yourself in new, possibly dangerous situations. Follow these general rules below to help lessen any potential dangers.
- Stick with roads that are familiar
- Be aware of where you park
- Park underneath street lights whenever possible
- Keep your doors locked and your windows rolled up while driving
- Practice general safety tips you’ve been taught since you were a little kid
Be Picky About Your Car Choice
If you’re responsible for paying for your own car, it could be tempting to buy something inexpensive just to have your own wheels. But once again, you should be concerned about some safety features. Take a trusted adult with you to go look at any cars you’re thinking about buying. And check out our list of things you can do to make an old car feel new. There are some cost effective options there for making most cars much more safe.
Don’t Drive Under the Influence
Just don’t do it. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol could ruin your whole life, not to mention someone else’s life. Be responsible and get a ride from someone sober. Talk to your parents or siblings or other friends, and establish a code word meaning that you need a ride. Have a ride sharing app and the number of a reputable cab company saved in your phone. There’s no excuse for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Ever.