Driving in the United States is a privilege, and it’s one that should be taken seriously. Each year, car accidents claim the lives of thousands of young drivers, and newly-licensed drivers are more than three times more likely to be involved in accidents according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The good news is that there are steps new drivers can take to avoid becoming a statistic, including:
1. Watch For Signals
Paying attention to signals on the road is important, and traffic lights aren’t the only signals to watch out for. Turn signals and brake lights are also important, and railroad crossing signals are also crucial to pay attention to. Thankfully, railroad signals are usually bright and noticeable. Companies like Specialty Bulb supply railway bulbs, locomotive headlights and railroad bulbs to ensure that drivers are able to clearly see warning signals well in advance of an oncoming train.
2. Practice Defensive Driving
In keeping with the above, young drivers are encouraged to practice defensive driving. This means paying attention to the traffic around you in order to adjust your driving to avoid dangerous conditions. If someone if tailgating you on a four-lane highway, consider moving over to let the vehicle pass. If you notice a car repeatedly crossing the center line in front of you, try to keep extra distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you.
The goal is to protect yourself and those around you. If you notice someone driving dangerously, you can take it upon yourself to put some extra distance between you and a dangerous driver. It doesn’t matter if someone else is in the wrong – you can do what’s right.
3. Avoid Distractions
Distracted driving is as bad or worse than drunk driving. Unfortunately, smartphones and other digital technologies often make their way into the hands of young drivers, and when combined with the urgency that comes with attending parties and meeting up with friends, this can be a recipe for disaster. All it takes is a few seconds of having your eyes off the road for a major traffic accident to occur.
Some smartphones feature modes that turn off features like texting while a driver is behind the wheel. If this isn’t an option, consider putting your smartphone in the glove box until you arrive at your destination. Additionally, you can have a friend hold onto your phone until you are in a safe place to use it. Young drivers should also keep in mind that many states have laws against driving and texting or taking calls while driving, so keeping your phone out of reach is also a matter of avoiding an expensive ticket.
Parents Need To Be Involved
Parents also play a vital role in teaching safe driving habits. If you’re the parent of a new driver, you’re bound to feel some jitters when your son or daughter starts out on their new journey. Use this time to talk with your child about the responsibilities of operating a motor vehicle, and consider setting rules for use of family vehicles.
Some parents also use apps that track data about how a vehicle is used. There are a number of apps out there that will hold new drivers accountable behind the wheel by sending reports to parents about metrics like speed, location and hard braking. These apps should not be used to punish new drivers, but instead, they can be used as teaching tools to help your new driver practice safer driving habits. This can give both you and your child peace of mind in knowing that they can remain protected on the road.