My daughter just turned 18 and finally has her driving license. She had her temporary license for almost an entire year before going to the BMV. After an entire year of being a student driving and many honking horns because she was driving the speed limit, she finally passed her test (barely) and had her license. She finally joined the 200 million drivers in the United States. Finally, freedom and independence. I wanted to share some wisdom with you to share with your kids.
1. TAKE TIME AND LEARN AND OBEY ALL TRAFFIC RULES
We turned “What’s That Sign?” into a game. And I would drill her on traffic laws as the situation arose. You have to sit in the cars for hours on end (60 plus hours in Ohio), so you might as well make it fun. Learn them and use them.
2. SLOW DOWN!
In this one, my daughter did very well with driving slow. Well, to the point she was being honked at for driving the speed limit. But speeding is one of the leading factors in fatal crashes involving young drivers. Basically, it requires a faster reaction time of the driver, as speeding cars cover more ground than a car traveling at a slower rate of speed. ANd with an inexperienced driver that could end up in a crash
3. KEEP YOUR CAR IN GOOD RUNNING SHAPE
Taking care of your car by scheduling oil changes, checking tire pressure, scheduling tire rotations, checking brake fluid and coolant levels are important and a great habit to learn to get into in life. They can help prevent a breakdown and help you avoid breakdowns and other potential accidents.
4. WEAR YOUR SEAT BELT
Always, always always put on your seatbelt and passengers too before you drive off. According to nhtsa.gov, 46% of the drivers were found to have been unbuckled. Save a life (maybe your own), and buckle up for safety.
5. AVOID DISTRACTIONED DRIVING
Keep your eyes on the road. That means no texting, no calling, no eating, no channel surfing on the radio, and no turning around to chat with friends in the backseat. Accidents can happen in a split second. So pay attention at all times.
6. ADJUST YOUR ACCESSORIES
No, not your jewelry. Before you start the car up, make sure you adjust your seat to a comfortable spot and checking all mirrors to make sure you’ve got the best possible view. And please do not adjust your car while driving.
7. DON’T TAILGATE
According to Comedy Guys defensive Training website, they advise these guidelines.
Your stopping distance will vary depending upon driving conditions.
- 3 seconds, for speeds between 35 and 55 mph, in ideal driving conditions (good road surface, good weather, light traffic)
- 4 seconds, for speeds between 55 and 75 mph, OR during rain, on wet pavement, or in heavy traffic
- 7 – 8 seconds, for icy or snow-covered roads
.And if someone is tailgating you, tap you breaklights a few time before turning to let them know you are slowing down.
8. BE PREPARED
In case of accidents, breakdowns, or other emergencies, you should always have important driving documents and an emergency kit with everything you’d need for an extended time in your car, such as a blanket, case of water, and a box of granola bars. Plus, I always am so happy to have yummy treats with me but don’t forget to restock if you get into them.
9. WATCH THE WEATHER
Rain, wind, and snow can make driving more challenging and dangerous. If it’s wet out, make sure your headlights are on, slow down, and increase your following distance because braking takes longer when roads are wet. Most importantly, if the conditions are too treacherous, staying home and staying safe is better.
10. DON’T DRIVE UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Just don’t. This includes being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or lack of sleep. Call an UBER and that goes for everyone not just our teen drivers. Nobody should have to tell you how severe the consequences can be.
Practice makes perfect, so get out and drive.