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Driver Safety Tips for Teenagers

Colburn Law

Teenager behind the wheel
Young drivers can be very susceptible to car accidents. Since driving is relatively new to these drivers, they often do not have the intuition or practice to avoid accidents or respond quickly to dangerous situations. Teen drivers also have a high rate of driving under the influence and driving while distracted. However, there are a few tips young drivers can follow to increase their safety on Washington roads.

#1: Keep the Phone Out of Sight

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving kills approximately 9 people and injures 1,000 people in crashes across the United States. If you read a text while driving 55 miles per hour, you take your eyes off the road for 5 seconds – which is the same as driving the entire length of a football field.

Driving with a cell phone can pose severe risks and distractions to young drivers. Before he or she drives, your teen should put his or her phone in a safe, secure place. Put the phone in a backpack, in the trunk, in the center console – anywhere where it is out of reach.

#2: Practice Defensive Driving

Driving can be unpredictable and dangerous, especially for inexperienced drivers who do not know the signs of a risky situation yet. Practicing defensive driving can help your teen anticipate potentially dangerous situations on the road and keep him or her out of an accident.

Make sure your teen attends a formal driver’s education program so he or she learns more about defensive driving techniques. Talk to him or her about issues you encounter on the road and how he or she can be more prepared for them. Discourage road rage and aggressive driving – these behaviors can increase the risk of an accident.

#3: Talk About Driving Under the Influence

At this point in his or her life, your teen should know about the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol and drugs. However, once he or she has a driver’s license, it can be tempting to ignore the risks and drive home after a party.

Sit down with your teen and talk about the dangers of intoxicated driving. Advise him or her to avoid drugs and alcohol and to especially avoid driving if he or she has taken these substances. Your teen should not get into a vehicle with a driver who is under the influence either – make sure he or she knows that safe ride alternatives are available, such as taxis and rideshare apps.

#4: Model Safe Driving Behaviors

If you do not practice safe driving yourself, your teen may be less likely to listen to your advice. New drivers learn by example – so make sure that you practice safe driving yourself.

  • Drive defensively and do not act aggressively towards other drivers.
  • Always wear your seat belt and follow the rules of the road.
  • Do not drink and drive.
  • Do not use your cell phone while driving.

#5: Know How to Drive in Bad Weather

One of the biggest challenges for new drivers is encountering bad weather while on the road for the first time. Poor weather conditions can heighten the risk of an accident – especially if your teen does not know how to control his or her car.

Teach your teen how to drive safely in different weather conditions, like rain, snow, and hail. Encourage your teen to keep emergency supplies in his or her vehicle in case something happens, such as snow chains, a first aid kit, non-perishable food, blankets, and a flashlight.

If you have a young driver in your household, share these tips with him or her to increase his or her safety on the road. Encourage safe driving behaviors in your home and drive with your teen for extra practice and tips. If your young driver does get into a collision, contact a car accident attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options for compensation.