There are few moments as a teenager more exciting than getting your driver’s license. Freedom, at long last, is yours (sometimes dependent on parents’ permission). But as liberating as driving can be, it also comes with a lot of responsibility. You want to be safe – for you, your passengers and others on the road.
5 Tips For Teens – Staying Safe On The Road
The following tips can help you both avoid accidents and protect yourself, while also helping you avoid expensive traffic violations.
1. Wear your seat belt.
Wearing a seat belt can reduce your risk of injury in a crash by 50%. It only takes a few seconds to buckle up, and after a few years you won’t even notice you are doing it. You may already have a habit of wearing a seat belt, but if not, develop one. Doing so can protect you in a crash and prevent you from getting a ticket.
2. Obey traffic laws.
Depending on your personality, you may view traffic laws as more of a suggestion than a hard and fast rule. Failing to do things like drive the speed limit, stop at stop signs and red lights, or signal when you make a lane change and turn not only puts you at risk for getting pulled over by a police officer, it also endangers you and others around your vehicle.
It can be tempting to at least bend the rules a little, especially when you are in a hurry, but try to avoid it. You only need to make one mistake to really hurt yourself or somebody else.
3. Keep an eye out for motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
Another problem drivers run into – not just teen drivers – is failing to notice when other users of the road are near their vehicle. Motorcyclists can be hard to see, just like bicyclists. Pedestrians can act erratically and wind up in front of your car, especially in highly populated areas like Boston or near universities and schools. Driving is all about situational awareness. You have to constantly be on the lookout to know where others are at all times.
Remember, while it can be annoying to drive so defensively, you want to pay careful attention anyway. Hitting another person that isn’t in a car can cause a range of injuries, including brain injuries, broken bones and even death. You do not want to be responsible for any of these.
4. Drive for the conditions.
Driving the speed limit only makes sense if the road conditions are good. On a clear, dry day you can keep your speedometer as close to the limit as you like, as long as you are not making any sharp turns. But if it starts raining, or snowing, it is time to slow down. Rain and snow in Massachusetts can significantly increase the time it takes to stop and how fast you can take corners. It may take some time to learn the limits of your car in these conditions, so err on the side of caution.
5. Avoid intoxication.
Driving while intoxicated – while on alcohol or any other drug – is a bad idea. If you are not sober, avoid driving. If you have to be somewhere, call a friend or a parent, or take a cab if that’s an option. Sleeping on a couch or even on a floor is better than risking a DUI, or worse, seriously hurting someone else or killing them while driving under the influence.
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