However, by practicing safe driving techniques―such as driving defensively―you’ll increase the odds you’ll keep yourself (and your passengers) safe on the road and you’ll increase your changes of getting more affordable car insurance as you build a good driving record.
Safety Tips for Teen Drivers
Whether you’re just getting ready to hit the road or have been driving for months―or even years―take some time to review these 8 safe driving tips.
1) Keep Your Cell Phone Off
Multiple studies indicate using a cell phone while driving is the equivalent of driving drunk―that’s even when using a hands-free phone.
NOTE: Your state may prohibit the use of cell phones while driving. An increasing amount of states are creating laws regarding cell phone use and texting. Often, younger drivers face stricter laws.
2) Don’t Text
Research shows texting―on average―causes a loss of focus on the road for 4.6 seconds. You can drive the length of a full football field in that time. A lot can go wrong while you drive the length of a football field without your eyes on the road.
Don’t try the “texting-while-stopped” approach, either, as many states ban texting while behind the wheel. And, when you have your head down, you won’t notice key developments that may occur. Remember, you still need to pay attention to the road when you’re stopped.
3) Turn on Your Headlights
Using your headlights increases your visibility and help other drivers see you, even when you feel like it’s light out.
In the early morning and early evening (dusk), you need to use your lights or other drivers might not see you, which can be disastrous.
4) Obey the Speed Limit
Speeding is a major contributor to fatal teen accidents. That’s especially true when driving on roads with lots of traffic or with which you’re not familiar.
Don’t feel pressured to keep up with traffic if it seems like everyone else is flying by you. Driving a safe speed helps ensure your well-being, and keeps you away from costly traffic tickets that can cause a sharp hike in your auto insurance premiums.
5) Minimize Distractions
It may be tempting to eat, drink, flip around the radio dial, or play music loudly while you’re cruising around town; however, all can cause your mind or vision to wander, even for a few seconds.
As an inexperienced driver, you are more apt to lose control of your car. Distractions can significantly increase the chances that you 1) not notice impending danger or notice it too late and 2) lose the ability to control the vehicle.
6) Drive Solo
Having a single teen passenger in your car can double the risk of causing a car accident. Adding additional teen passengers causes the risk to escalate.
7) Practice Defensive Driving
Always be aware of the traffic ahead, behind, and next to you, and have possible escape routes in mind. Stay at least one car length behind the car in front of you in slower speeds, and maintain a larger buffer zone with faster speeds.
Some car insurance companies will even give you a discount if you take an approved defensive driving course to improve your driving skills.
8) Choose a Safe Car
If possible, drive a safe car with the latest safety equipment (such as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and air bags), and one with an excellent crash safety record.
Final Word: Teens Becoming Safe Drivers
There’s no substitute for driving experience and the wisdom that age brings, but by applying the above tips you’ll enhance the odds you won’t become a teenage driver accident statistic. Also, when you have a good driving record free of accidents, it’s easier to find cheap car insurance in the future.