Six Safety Tips For Young Drivers
Freedom may not feel any freer than when you get your license and that first car. However, statistics for first-time drivers can be pretty ominous. To keep yourself from becoming one of them, it’s wise to be aware of some of the common dangers that come with inexperience. Insurers charge first-time drivers a higher premium than most, and that’s because the data shows them to be a higher risk. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a bad driver, but it does mean that many young people behind the wheel are, and you’ve got to prove yourself to shed the reputation.
Along with our friends at Allstate, we’ve put together some tips for how to do it.
Tip One: Drive Slow.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speed is the main factor in accidents among teen drivers as well as a factor in one of every three teen crash fatalities. The NHTSA reported in 2008 that 37 percent of fatal crashes with 15- to 20-year-old male drivers involved speeding. Cutting your speed can give you more time to think about what you’re doing as well as what other cars are doing.
Tip Two: Wear A Seat Belt.
All across the country, it’s the law. That’s because more often than not, wearing a seat belt will help prevent serious injury in an accident and, yes, save your life. NHTSA statistics show that wearing seat belts improves the survival rate of front-seat passengers by 45 percent.
Tip Three: Nix Distracted Driving.
There are more driver distractions today than ever before — texting, social media, email, changing song selections on a CD or iPod. These are quickly becoming as, if not more, dangerous than drinking and driving. Remember: your first priority is to drive. That means getting yourself and any passengers to the destination quickly, while doing no harm to other motorists. It’s not to change a radio station.
Tip Four: Turn Off Your Phone.
This is an extension of tip three, but it really deserves its own place. Why? Because using one simple device, you can dump hundreds of distractions into your commute. Turning your phone off while driving will keep you from responding to texts or updating your status on social media. It will also ensure that any texts and phone calls don’t ding or buzz your attention away from the road. If you must have it on, use hands-free controls.
Tip Five: Keep Passengers To A Minimum.
If you want to be a conscientious driver who doesn’t get in to accidents and sees his rates go down more quickly, then avoid overcrowding. As Allstate Auto Insurance notes, “It’s very difficult to concentrate on the road when you have a car full of friends. Adults can help a new or teen driver scan the road ahead while friends or other teens cause more distractions. When driving with no adult passengers, the risk of 16- or 17-year old drivers being killed in a car crash increases 44 percent with one passenger under the age of 21; it doubles with two young passengers, and quadruples with three or more young passengers.” Even worse, extra passengers often result in teens driving more aggressively, the company states, adding: “If a friend is pressuring you to drive too fast or drive while intoxicated, you must be the voice of reason and just say no.”
Tip Six: Don’t Drive Sleepy.
If you’re too tired to drive, pull over to a safe place and rest, or have a responsible friend or family member come get you. NHTSA states that drowsy driving is a factor in 100,000 crashes, 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths annually. Furthermore, The National Sleep Foundation believes the numbers to be much greater at 71,000 injuries and 5,500 deaths each year.
The road can be a dangerous place for experienced drivers, so don’t assume that you’re immune to its effects. By being aware of the dangers that your peers face, the mistakes they make, and best practices for sharing the road with other motorists, you’ll be much safer over the long haul.