Teenage drivers are involved in more car accidents than any other age group. Driving is a skill that definitely improves with experience. So despite having the state’s permission to drive, teen drivers should keep in mind a number of tips to make their time behind the wheel as safe as it can be.
First, teens should limit all distractions while driving. For example, studies have shown that using cell phones, even hands-free, while driving leaves you with all the skill and care of a drunk driver. In addition, the more passengers a teen driver has in the car, the more likely he is to get into an accident. Other types of distractions that pose a driving risk for teens are adjusting the radio, playing music too loudly, eating, or not being familiar with how the car works (e.g., how to turn on the windshield wipers).
In terms of a teen’s actually driving, he/she shouldn’t be influenced by the bad driving habits of those around him/her. Keep to the speed limit, even if it seems everyone else is passing you by. Maintain lane position until it’s necessary to switch lanes to make a turn; then, make sure to always use the turn signal. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep the headlights on, even during the day, as it helps with visibility. Keep a good distance between cars and accelerate slowly. Finally, keep both hands on the wheel.
The final area to consider when helping teens drive safely is what and where they drive. If at all possible limit teens to driving cars with good safety records. The car should also have all the latest safety equipment, such as air bags, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control. Ideally, teens should be driving mostly between places they already know. The less familiar teens are with the roads they’re on, the more distracted and nervous they can get. If a teen is driving some place new, he should look at a map and learn as much as possible about the route before getting in the car.