When we learn how to drive we are building a foundation for the rest of our lives. Both good and bad habits will carry over. For this reason, now is the time to ingrain in our young teenaged drivers exactly what it takes to drive safely out there. These are the most crucial habits that we can think of, aside from the obvious: don’t drink alcohol and drive. Equipped with these good habits, teen drivers can reduce the likelihood that they will be involved in a collision.
Never Ever Text or Use Social Media
Over the last few years, the number of collisions caused by texting and driving has continued to rise. Despite this proof that texting and driving are dangerous, it hasn’t been made illegal in every state. Even though it might not be illegal, it is crucial to teach our teens that texting and driving is a dangerous practice. Frankly, teen drivers shouldn’t use their phones at all. The distraction of calling or text messaging can take even the most experienced driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel and mind off of driving, any or all of those factors significantly increase the risk of crashing. This can be remedied by equipping their vehicles with cameras or their phones with apps that will not allow text messages or phone calls while the vehicle is in motion. Be clear that the use of cell phones while driving is prohibited. If they are going to use their phone for a navigation system then it is imperative that the phone is mounted and programmed so that Siri or Cortana is talking to them vs. them trying to read directions.
No Eating, Makeup, or Other Distractions
Much like texting or calling someone, eating while driving can be exceptionally distracting. The essence of this point and the previous one is that being distracted while driving is a huge no-no. Even a seasoned driver can get in a collision if they’re not paying attention. Whether it is because they are eating, texting, putting on makeup or fixing the radio; distracted drivers are the ones who are responsible for many crashes. For this reason, it is imperative that our teenagers understand that when they’re in the car 100% of their attention should be on driving.
Defensive driving is important for staying safe on the road, but teenage drivers must be taught the difference between defensive and aggressive driving. Being aggressive will provoke other drivers on the road and could cause a crash. Being defensive means paying attention, looking for clues, and protecting themselves from the mistakes of others. It is also important to be confident in the decisions you are constantly making while behind the wheel of a car. This comes in handy while changing lanes and merging onto the highway. Practicing driving frequently with our teens is a great way to instill this in them as a habit.
Wear a Seatbelt
Some of us may consider this obvious, but even so, some people never snap on their seat belt before starting their car. There is a reason that most cars are outfitted with an annoying beeper prompting us to put on our seat belts. Seat belts are the most significant safety device in our vehicle. so no matter how obvious it seems, never let a teen start the car until they are properly buckled in.
The last great habit for teen drivers is to avoid taking passengers for a while. We mentioned that distractions cause collisions, well teens are certainly distracted by their friends. Make it a rule that your teen driver fly solo for a couple of months to get the hang of driving. Preferably, teens would go a year before taking passengers regularly.
The major basis of each of these good habits for teen drivers is to avoid being distracted while the car is running. Whether it is a phone, food, friends, or fear of other drivers; distractions can cause fatal crashes. Teach teen drivers these rules of thumb and you are helping them build attitudes that will keep them safe on the roadways.