When you’ve finally gotten your driver’s license and are allowed to drive solo, getting behind the wheel means you also have a responsibility to drive safely. Here are three safety tips to keep in mind as you prepare to head out on the road.
Practice safe driving habits. According to the AAA, it takes about five years of experience before a teen reaches the skill levels of most drivers. That’s why it’s important not to be overconfident at first and to practice safe driving habits at all times. These include:
- Always wearing your safety belt
- Respecting weather and speed conditions
- Remaining alert at all times for potentially risky situations
- Limiting the number of teen passengers in the vehicle, even after your state has lifted this restriction
Continue building your driving skills. No one knows how they’ll react in every circumstance on the road, not without a lot of driving practice and acquiring certain skills. To prepare yourself for different road, weather and traffic conditions, safety experts advise that you continue to practice in order to build your driving skills.
Ask your parent to help you practice in driving conditions that may be new to you, such as navigating busy freeways, driving on congested city streets, traveling rural roads, driving during rain, sleet and/or snow, what to do in case of a sudden downpour, how to safely navigate off the road in an emergency situation, and other unexpected and potentially dangerous conditions.
When you’re driving, keep focused on the task. Perhaps the most important piece of safety advice anyone can give you is to be completely focused on your driving when you’re behind the wheel. This means avoiding all distractions, from talking or texting on your cell phone, to fiddling with the radio to tune in your favorite jams, to eating a quick bite on your way to class, to chatting with your friends accompanying you in the car.
It also means that you should never drive when you are angry, upset or feeling ill. It’s also recommended that you learn how to keep your cool and not respond with aggressive driving behavior when provoked or irritated by another driver.
Don’t take unnecessary risks on the road. This includes passing a slower-moving vehicle when you can’t see around the vehicle to determine if there’s a safe distance to do so, speeding, ignoring traffic signs and signals, trying to beat a railroad crossing gate, consistently running yellow lights, tailgating and more. Remember that you will be penalized for violating state traffic laws, can be held responsible for property damage, and face consequences for any crash that injures or kills another person.