You’ve finally done it… You’ve passed your driver’s test, and you’re ready to hit the road Mom-free!
But with all of your newfound freedom comes some serious responsibility. Teenage drivers account for more accidents and more traffic violations than any other age group. In fact, car accidents are the leading cause of death for teenagers! If you don’t want to become part of those scary statistics, read on. We’ve got some advice that will help you hit the road safely, so that you can truly enjoy your newfound freedom!
– Put the phone down
We know how hard it can be to ignore that tell-tale “ding” of a text message, but even the funniest comment isn’t worth risking your life or the lives around you. Studies have shown that using your cell phone behind the wheel is such a big distraction that it’s the equivalent of driving drunk. Even if you have a hands-free device, you’re still splitting your concentration between the road and the person on the other end of the phone.
Think you can look down for just a few seconds? Think again! If you’re on the highway going 60 mph, you’re traveling 88 feet per second. In the 5 seconds it takes you to look down at a text message, you’ve traveled 440 down the road. That’s a long way to go when you’re not looking!
So, tell your friends in advance that you won’t be talking or texting behind the wheel. That way, they’ll know you’re not ignoring them; you’re simply being safe!
– Prevent your car from turning into a rolling party
One of the best things about getting your driver’s license is being able to cruise around town with your friends. Forget Mom’s minivan! You’ve got a car full of friends, so crank up the music and enjoy!
Just don’t let all of that fun get in the way of being a safe driver!
We’ve already discussed how dangerous it can be to drive when you’re distracted. That doesn’t just apply to talking and texting on your cell phone, though! Having a group of friends along for the ride can definitely take your mind off the road. That doesn’t mean you have to ride around all by yourself in silence. Just let the REAL fun start after you’ve arrived at your destination.
– Don’t speed
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but teenagers are most likely to speed. Combine that with the fact that they also get into the most accidents, and you can see how feeling the need for speed can turn into a serious disaster! So do yourself a favor and slow down. After all, the worst thing that can happen is you’re a few minutes late to that party. Showing up late is a whole lot better than not showing up at all because you got into an accident!
– Let your car turn back into a pumpkin
Cinderella had until midnight to cruise around in her pumpkin-turned-carriage, and everything worked out A-OK for her! So, take a cue from her and don’t drive late at night if you can avoid it. Not only will you be tired, but the darkness will make it hard to spot potential dangers in the road. In fact, California teen drivers are 3 times more likely to get into a car accident after 9:00 PM.
– Don’t be one of “those” drivers
You know the kind… they tailgate, swerve in and out of lanes, cut off other cars, and all of the drivers around them think they’re real jerks. Even more importantly, being one of “those” drivers is really dangerous. So, stick to the rules of the road!
– Don’t drink and drive
You’ve probably had this one drilled into your head for years, but it’s a lesson that can never be emphasized too much! Drinking and driving isn’t cool; it’s dangerous. Are you really willing to risk your life — or someone else’s — for a couple of beers?!
Even if you’re lucky enough not to get into an accident, the underage DUI laws in California are really strict. In fact, they’re zero tolerance! If you register even a 0.01% blood alcohol level — or refuse to take the test altogether — your license will be sent to the DMV and destroyed, and you won’t be able to drive again for at least a year. Considering how long you’ve been waiting to get your driver’s license, this can feel like forever!
– Give your car the TLC it needs
If you’re lucky enough to be a teenager with your very own car, you may feel like the entire world is within your grasp. However, that’s only true if your car can actually get you from Point A to Point B!
Did you know that skipping oil changes can destroy your engine? And, that “Check Engine” light can indicate all kinds of bad things, so you don’t have the luxury of ignoring it. Oh, and driving around with bald tires will make it impossible for your car to have any traction — meaning you’ll be at an even higher risk for an accident. Even having low tire pressure can cause a blowout. (Imagine all of the horrible things that could happen if that blowout occurred on the highway, or even a busy street!)
In short, you need to be good to your car so that it’s good to you! After all, you’ve achieved every teenager’s dream — the keys to your own car. Don’t waste the opportunity!
Want to learn more ?
Latest posts by Raphael Locsin (see all)
- How Credit Affects Homeownership - August 1, 2016
- New Business Restrictions: Santa Clarita Fire - July 26, 2016
- 5 Things to Know Before Signing a Rental Agreement - July 16, 2016