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Avoid These Teen Driving Mistakes

1) Speeding

Did you know that speeding accounts for almost 40% of teen fatalities?

As an inexperienced driver, it's tougher for you to judge your speed and how long it will take to stop. Sure, your reflexes may be sharp, but your interpretation of situations isn't the best. And, it takes time and practice to improve this. So, slow down and obey the posted traffic speeds. Period.

Don't feel embarrassed about driving under the posted speed when you're not feeling comfortable behind the wheel?even when other drivers whiz by you. Those drivers likely have much more road experience than you do, and it could be they're engaging in risky behavior.

2) Getting Distracted

Talking on a cell phone. Texting. Eating. Fiddling with the radio or a CD.

All of these activities are fine to do?when you're not driving. Doing them while driving is inviting trouble. Distractions hinder your ability to scan the road effectively, locate potential trouble early, and take the necessary action.

3) Taking Unnecessary Risks

It's risky enough to drive a car. But, when you compound this with foolish actions such as squeezing through an intersection on a yellow light, not checking your blind spots before switching lanes, and not using your turn signal, you ramp up your chances of causing car wrecks.

4) Failing to Keep a Proper Distance

Teens often overestimate their ability to stop their cars in time. Always maintain an adequate safety margin from the car ahead of you. The higher the speed, the more braking space you need.

5) Not Wearing a Seat Belt

Yes, they can be restrictive and uncomfortable. But, they also play a critical role in eliminating injuries or reducing the severity of injuries you might sustain in a car wreck. Sometimes a seat belt even decides who survives a crash. So, buckle up.

6) Over-correcting and Other Emergency Errors

At times, you must swerve your car or quickly correct the direction of your wheels. Many times teen drivers over-compensate in these situations, and make a dangerous situation worse by losing control of their car.

It's difficult to master emergency handling skills, but you can easily learn to anticipate dangerous situations, which will limit the need to apply these emergency skills. Keeping a safe speed helps, too.

7) Driving While Tired

School. Homework. Jobs. Extracurricular activities. Volunteer work. Baby-sitting. Parties.

As a teen, you need a lot of sleep?more than most adults. Yet, your schedule may not let you get the rest your body and mind require. This leads to driving while drowsy, which delays reaction time, decreases awareness, and results in auto accidents. You may feel you're fine to drive when you're not; better to let someone else drive when you're struggling to stay awake.

8) Having Teen Passengers

It's natural to want to drive with the company of your friends, but doing so can be dangerous: A single teen passenger in your car can double the risk of causing a car accident. That's because passengers can distract you, or cause you to drive more aggressively than you should.

9) Driving the Wrong Car

When it comes to the car you drive, you may not have a choice. But, if you do, opt for one with the latest safety features, and a solid crash safety record. Don't choose a powerful, high-performance car, as it's too easy to lose control of these vehicles as an inexperienced driver.

And, avoid large cars, as they can be a challenge to handle, especially in tight situations.

Teen Drivers and Safety

As a teen driver, the odds of staying accident-free can seem staggering, but don't drive scared?just drive smart and follow the tips mentioned. Doing so greatly improves the chances of arriving to your destination safely, time after time.

  • Posted 11:39 AM  View Comments

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