9 Safe Driving Tips for TeensCar crashes are the leading cause of death for 15-to 20-year-olds in the U.S. And summer is the most dangerous season of all for teen drivers. On average, nearly 4,000 teen drivers and passengers die in traffic crashes in the 100-day period from June through Labor Day, according to AAA. That's 260 teen fatalities per month, a 26 percent increase compared to the rest of the year. So, new drivers, be careful out there on the road. Keep your eyes open and your head screwed on straight. Some tips to live by:
1. Be prepared.
Know where you are going and leave sufficient time to get there. Fasten your seat belt. Check the fuel gauge. Adjust the mirrors. Look all around the vehicle before putting it in gear. Look again.
2. Fasten your seat belt.
Yeah, we know it's up there in Tip 1 - but it's worth repeating. Don't ever think "Just this once" you can get away without buckling up
3. Pay attention.
When you are in the driver's seat, it's all work and no play. Ditch distractions. No cell phone while driving. No texting. Keep your hands on the steering wheel. Keep the music down. And no eating. Grrr.
4. Obey the speed limit.
If weather conditions are bad, slow down accordingly. If weather conditions are great, do the limit, stay alert and enjoy the ride.
5. Tired? Over served? Don't take the wheel.
Tap up a ride from Uber-X or Lyft, the ride-sharing apps, or call a cab. Lack of sleep, alcohol and drugs impair your judgment, reflexes and ability to process information - all driving skills that are essential to keeping you alive on the road.
6. Don't drive friends.
A teen driving with other teens in the car is more likely to crash. When poet Shel Silverstein wrote about too many kids in the tub, he confessed he'd "just washed a behind that I'm sure wasn't mine." Results of teens crowding in a car with a teen driver are not so amusing
7. Stay off the road at night.
Darkness reduces visibility and ups the chance for risky driving behavior - yours and others'. There's time down the road to add nighttime driving to your skill set.
8. If you feel unsafe as a passenger, speak up.
If someone at the wheel is speeding or driving erratically, weigh in, nicely. Pounding pavement is preferable to sitting silent and terrified.
9. Keep up the good work!
Getting a license is easy; learning to be a good driver takes time. A young driver's disproportionately high crash risk will not decrease much until age 25.
"Parents often think that their kids ignore them, but when it comes to driving, that's just not true," says Dean Pisciotta, president of Brakes Plus, the family owned and operated car maintenance and repair chain.
"It's important for parents to be a good example to teen drivers both on and off the road," says Pisciotta. "Exhibit good driving skills. And make it clear that you place a high priority on keeping your vehicle road-ready and in the best possible condition for safe operation in every season."
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