Driving is one of the greatest freedoms we experience, and when we finally are able to drive alone it can be one of the most liberating experiences of our lives. Unfortunately, with this freedom comes great responsibility, and it is up to us to accept and respect that responsibility every time we get behind the wheel. This not only keeps you safe, but keeps everyone else safe on the road. Read on for more information on teen driver safety, and follow the links at the end of this article for more information and resources.
Did you know that car crashes are the number one killer of teens in America? If there was ever a reason to take the responsibility of teen driving seriously, that is it. Eight teenagers a day die in a car crash every day, and most of these crashes take place late at night, between the hours of nine and midnight. The cost of these crashes is not only paid in innocent lives, but also in billions of dollars. To be exact, 26 billion dollars a year are spent by society as a result of car crashes involving teenagers.
One of the most demoralizing things about this information is that the leading cause of these crashes involving teenage drivers is simply inexperience. This means that, though there are precautions you can take as a teen driver, you are fighting against something over which you have relatively little control. This means that you have to take every step possible to drive safely, to know everything you can about keeping yourself and those around you safe while you're on the road, and doing what you can to keep from becoming a statistic yourself.
Tips for Teen Driver Safety
Keep Distractions to a minimum - More than every generation before you, there are going to be distractions on the road, making driving safety a true challenge for you. While prior generations only had to worry about the distractions of the radio or conversations from the passengers, you have to worry about all that along with the distractions of your phone, touchscreen and GPS controls in the console, and even DVDs and video games being played by passengers. The fact of the matter is, there are many distractions, but at the end of the day, it is your responsibility to keep your eyes on the road and yourself focused on what is going on around you. Your life, the lives of your passengers, and the lives of others on the road are in your hands.
Buckle Up! - It might seem like this shouldn't have to be said, but according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 60% of fatalities due to car accidents of people under the age of 20 were not buckled in at the time of the crash. For many young drivers, it may seem there are more important things to be doing when someone is driving, but not being buckled in does nothing more than put your own life at risk. There's simply nothing more important when in a moving car than buckling up.
Know (and Trust) Your Passengers - Keeping distractions to a minimum is important, and the first step you can take to accomplishing this is to know your passengers, and to trust that they will let you focus on the road. There's nothing more distracting than passengers who do not understand the immense amount of concentration it takes to drive well. If you find yourself in a situation where you're being pressured into giving people rides who you don't think you can trust, say you're parents won't let you have anyone you (or they) don't know, or that you're in a hurry. Whatever it takes to keep you, and everyone else on the road, safe.
Be Prepared - It is an unfortunate reality of driving that the unexpected will happen. You'll break down. You might even get into an accident. Regardless of the reason, you'll find yourself in situations you didn't plan for that morning, and it is best to be prepared. You can get prepared by always making sure you have a few different things in your car. These include a road atlas (a GPS is useless if your phone dies), road flares, a flashlight, and jumper cables. You'll be able to find these in road kits made specifically for this purpose.