There’s no feeling quite like that of when you’re finally holding that freshly printed license for the first time. Sure, it’s just a piece of plastic, but to a new driver, it’s the freedom that they’ve been dreaming of for as long as they can remember. But, before you hit the open road on your own, it’s important to take a moment to remember a few tips for safe driving. Here are six things that all new drivers should avoid:
- Distracted Driving – Being distracted behind the wheel is something that you should always try to avoid. Unfortunately, people do some crazy things while driving. Some people try to put on makeup while driving, some try to get dressed while driving, and others, many others, try to talk or text while driving. These are just some of the most common distractions, but there are hundreds of other potential disruptions a new driver may face. Most distractions that take place behind the wheel are self-imposed, meaning they are completely preventable. So, take control of your environment and safety by getting rid of all things that could potentially distract you while driving. Because, if you’re doing anything other than just driving while behind the wheel, you’re putting yourself and everyone else on the road at risk.
- Speeding – When it comes to new drivers, speeding plays a role in over a third of all fatal car crashes. This trend is so high because new drivers lack the knowledge of how long it can take to stop a vehicle when faced with a panicked situation. Even if you think your reflexes are fast, if you have to stop in a split-second, and you’re speeding, your car may be unable to stop in time. So, instead of pushing things to the limit, racing around town, choose the smart, safe way, and just leave earlier to avoid the urge or the need to speed.
- Overcrowding – Too many people in the car can create a very distracting situation. When new drivers first get their license, it’s all-too tempting to go grab some friends and hit the town. But, this might not be the best idea, especially when you know that a new teen driver’s risk of being in a fatal car crash increases with each passenger added to the vehicle. So, before you start to offer to pick up all of your friends, remember the additional risk that comes with getting into the car with them.
- Driving Under the Influence – Most new drivers are under the age of 21, which means that it’s illegal to consume alcohol. Unfortunately, even this law doesn’t stop everyone from driving under the influence. Just remember, one night of drinking isn’t worth your life, or the lives of others.
- Following – Following too closely is a terrible idea even for the best drivers. Of course, it’s no fun to get stuck behind a car that’s driving ten under the speed limit. But, it happens, and it happens to everyone. No matter what, it’s important that you always leave enough room in between yourself and the car in front of you just in case you need to make a sudden stop. As a rule of thumb, when driving on the highway, try to leave at least 3 seconds or more between your car and the car in front of you. With inclement weather conditions, allow even more time between cars. This is so important because following too closely can potentially lead to a crash if you don’t leave yourself enough time to stop.
- Driving Without a Seatbelt – The very first thing that every safe driver should do upon entering their vehicle is put on their seatbelt. Make wearing yours a constant habit by buckling in before doing anything else, even starting your car; it just might save your life. Plus, it’s the law!
Learn to be a safe driver from the start, and keep these tips in mind every time you get behind the wheel.