While almost everyone needs to drive at some point in their lifetime, there’s no doubt that driving is risky. Everyone on the road wants to remain safe and get to their destination, but teens are especially vulnerable to accidents—mostly because they’re inexperienced. When we’re learning to drive, one of the earliest things we learn is that everyone around us is the problem. While that can be true at times, it doesn’t mean we should be any less responsible behind the wheel. In fact, one of the best ways for everyone (not just teens) to stay safe behind the wheel is to learn to drive defensively. However, if you’re a teen, you probably have no idea how to do that. Below we cover the keys to defensive driving for teens, and if you master these main points, you’ll be much safer on the road.
Obey the speed limit
We know you’ve seen cars practically flying past you and going well over the speed limit, but that doesn’t mean you should follow their lead. Speeding is not only illegal, but it also significantly increases your chances of getting into an accident. If someone around you wants to speed, so be it––let them pass, or move out of their way. Remember, part of the problem is everyone around you, right?
One of the leading causes of accidents for teen drivers is distracted driving. There are several ways you can avoid distractions, but first, you need to understand the various types of distractions. First and foremost, put your phone away. It doesn’t matter if you’re using a GPS or sending a “quick text” at a red light; it’s illegal, and you’re putting yourself and others in danger. If you need a GPS, get a hands-free accessory in your car. Other distractions include music, other passengers, pets, eating, and doing your make-up––yes, people do it. In simple terms, if you’re doing anything other than driving and focusing on the road, you’re distracted.
Stay alert and look beyond the hood
New drivers often find themselves looking just beyond their hood when they start driving. Granted, you are looking at the road, so that’s something. But you should look further because that’s where the rest of the road is, including other cars. You must be alert and aware of those around you when you’re driving, and you can do that by reducing distractions and looking toward a point in the distance where you’ll be in 20-30 seconds.
Get comfortable driving in various weather conditions
The region where you live significantly affects the weather you’ll be driving in. For instance, someone in California will have a much different driving experience than someone in Colorado. While you might never master driving in various conditions, it’s important to know how to drive in them. There are countless resources that offer safety tips for driving in fog, snow, ice, and rain. In general, it’s best to stay home and avoid driving in poor conditions, if possible. If you have to drive, slowing down is the best decision you can make
Now that you know the keys to defensive driving for teens, you can be much safer on the road. All in all, you’re going to learn to drive defensively the same way we all did––through years of practice. While other drivers around you might drive recklessly, you can drive cautiously and get to your destination safely.