For many teens, getting their driver's license is a major milestone; but the privilege of being able to drive requires a good amount of responsiblity. Learning to judge situations and really feel comfortable about maneuvering the roads does take some time. To ease some of that learning curve, I've put together a few tips for brand-new drivers to help guide them through the first years of taking the wheel. Feel free to add any tips of your own!
General Driving Tips:
- Maintain your car. Bald tires, a slipping transmission or a hesitant engine could lead to accidents.
- When driving to a new place, get complete directions before you go. Figure out what exits you need to take and what turns to make beforehand. One visitor hit a divider at an exit ramp location after being told too late tat this was the place to get off the highway.
- Drive into your garage straight, not at an angle. Another teen thought her car would straighten out before she got inside, but instead she denter the car and broke the moulding on the garage.
- Don't drive like you own the road. Drive like you own the car.
- Make sure your windshield is clean. At sunrise and sunset the light reflecting off of your dirty windshield can momentarily blind you from seeing what's going on.
- Don't blast the radio. You might miss hearing a siren or horn that could warn you of possible trouble.
- Don't make assumptions about what other drivers are going to do. The only thing you can assume about another driver with a turn signal on is that he has his turn signal on.
Driving in Bad Weather:
- Keep your windows and windshields clear and make sure your wipers are working. Visibiltiy is especially important in inclement weather.
- Braking in bad weather can be tricky, Be sure you know how long it takes you to stop on slippery roads, and how to handle your braking system.
- Watch for danger spots ahead - you've probably heard that bridges and overpasses freeze before roads do. Be sure you keep an eye out for those ahead.
- If you're stuck in the ice or the snow, try putting your floor mats under the edge of the tire to give them traction.
Tips for Parking Lots:
- Backing out in crowded parking lots can be tricky. If there are perpendicular spaces available see if you can find one you can pull straight out of as opposed to bakcing out.
- Don't leave valuables like wallets, shoes, leather jackets or sports equipment in your car where they can be seen because they invite break-ins.
- Be sure to go slowly and exercise extra caution in parking lots.
And, finally, the "Five Golden Rules" of Safe Driving:
- Seatbelts. Everyone must wear them all the time.
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Drive defensively.
- Don't break the law.
- Pay attention. Don't use your cell phone, and don't take your eyes off the road.
If you need more information about teen driving tips, and how that brand-new driver can affect your insurance visit www.mcdonaldmcgarry.com/research-center/real-life-situations/teen-will-drive-soon where we've compiled information to help clarify how a teenage driver impacts your insurance plan.