Learning to drive is a rite of passage for teenagers. It's hard to know who's more nervous, the teen novice or the overseeing parent. Here are six tips for teenagers to set them on the right road to getting their licenses.
1. Turn off your cell phone
A new driver should never have the distraction of using a cell phone while driving. Many states forbid cell phone use. Even with hands free, phone use while driving is dangerous. Studies show that the accident rate for drivers using cell phones is as bad as the accident rate for drunk drivers.
2. Don't ever text and drive
Texting and driving is a particular danger for teenagers, who are used to texting friends and receiving texts from multiple callers all the time. Glancing at a text takes an average of five seconds. In the five seconds during which the driver loses focus, the car travels the length of a football field. Even at a red light, too much can happen in that amount of time. Don't text in the car unless it is parked and turned off.
3. Turn on your headlights
In some cars, the ignition key automatically turns on the lights. In all other cars, make sure to turn on the lights, even in the daytime. The improved visibility helps other drivers see you.
4. Always obey the speed limit
Almost half of teen driving accidents involve driving faster than the speed limit. Parents should monitor their own behavior. It's hard to convince a teenager to obey the rules if the parents don't. The legal experts from The Upton Law Firm, LLC say this is the biggest reason for tickets among new drivers.
5. Come to a full stop at stop signs
The rolling stop is a bad habit in today's society. Teach your teenager to come to a full stop, look both ways, then proceed carefully into the intersection. Most accidents happen close to home. Teach your teenagers to be vigilant, even on the slow back streets of their neighborhoods.
6. Don't drive with a group
Teenagers typically like to travel in groups. A car full of friends is a car full of distractions. Turning up the music, texting and loudly reporting on what's being texted, gossiping, arguing and calling out roadside sights are typical of teenage group behavior. These distractions do nothing to help your neophyte driver pay attention to the road. Have your teenager drive alone at first. You're the chaperone.
Keep these tips in mind as you and your teenager practice driving. Always set a good example.