Ever since teenagers started driving, adults have told them what to do. It’s with good reason; teens are three times more likely to be in an accident before age 18 than a more experienced adult is. New teen drivers could avoid many accidents they have by taking some of the sage advice of older drivers. The simple things leading to good driving habits still ring true today; like, don’t follow too close behind the vehicle in front of you, and use your turn indicator “blinker” to communicate to drivers around you of your intent to move, before doing so.
Driving habits are behavioral, and all behavior communicates something. There are courteous drivers and rude arrogant drivers, just like folks we bump into in line at the grocery store. It’s usually true that positive and encouraging behavior contributes to more productive outcomes than rude or arrogant behavior, which generally attracts conflict and problems. As in all areas of life, good communication skills can make it easier it is to get along with others around you.
From questions about technology to car insurance for teens, we’ve listed a few of our top tips for the modern teen driver. Some suggestions are new to today’s young drivers, and others have been around for a while. Continue reading to learn how to drive safer and more competently behind the wheel.
Get Acquainted with Your New (Or-New-to-You) Vehicle
As thrilling as it is to get behind the wheel of a new vehicle, it can also be a little intimidating, especially for new drivers. Not all vehicles’ dashboards or interiors are configured the same way. With so many buttons, touchscreens, lights, and functions, it can be challenging to navigate the vehicles dashboard for the first time. This is true for teens as well as anyone renting a car, they are not familiar with. You know where the brake and gas pedal are, but what about some of the lesser used but important features?
Many new technologies are available in today’s cars, including advanced GPS systems. Before you crank up the engine, make sure you know where all your car’s most important features are located and familiarize yourself with their functions and purposes. It will help you operate the automobile in a more confident and safe manner, especially if you find yourself in an emergency. Examples include:
• Hazard lights button
• Headlight and fog light control
• Windshield wiper control
• Cruise control
• Mirror adjustment control
• Speed gauge
• Oil pressure gauge
• Temperature gauge
• Fuel gauge
• Emergency brake
• Hood release
• Gas cap release
• And more
Cell Phones and Driving Don’t Mix
Distractions of additional passengers and cell phone use are the primary cause of distractions for teen drivers. Yet despite laws that ban texting while driving, it is still common. We’ve all seen people try to multi-task while driving. It’s quite the observation to watch a mother with kids in the car, place their makeup and/or eyelashes higher on the priority scale, than the safety of her co-occupants or other drivers for that matter.
The time to multi-task is not while behind the wheel, especially for inexperienced drivers. It takes 100 percent focus to operate a vehicle safely on today’s streets, sometimes that’s not enough. Texting or talking on the phone while driving requires a divided thought process that is dangerous for young drivers. Not even hands-free Bluetooth devices eliminate the risk of a crash. Put down the phone completely, and don’t pick it up until you reach your destination – not even at a stop light.
Keep Your Future in Mind
There is a lot to think about behind the wheel. But it’s the awareness and preparation for handling the unexpected as it happens, that makes a safe driver. It doesn’t happen by itself; all drivers must pay attention to their vehicle and surroundings while driving.
When unexpected things happen while driving, we are better prepared for our best response to it by knowing our vehicle so we can respond most positively to the situation. Maybe we don’t get pushed into the vehicle in front of us when we’re hit from behind, because we kept a safe distance from the car in front of us and kept our foot on the brake while waiting for the light to change. This is actually a very common occurrence, and it can impact who gets cited at an accident scene.
Learning the act of driving isn’t really that hard, it’s understanding cooperative rules of the road and how your vehicle impacts others around you. One of the most obvious and important things all of us should remember as it pertains to driving is that our actions today will affect our future opportunities and costs. Irresponsible driving leads to higher insurance premiums and can have significant financial and legal consequences on the future financial health of your household, especially if your license is suspended.
Likewise, good driving habits can lead to positive outcomes. Maintaining a clean driving record, qualifying for good student discounts, and paying attention to how your auto insurance protects others, as well as yourself, have lifetime benefits. If you have any questions or concerns give us a call at Imes Insurance Associates for more information about teen drivers.