Ever since teenagers started driving, there have been adults telling them what to do. It’s with good reason; teens are three times more likely to be in an accident before age 18 than a more experienced adult is. New teen drivers could avoid many of the collisions they are involved in by taking some of the sage advice of older drivers.
From questions about technology to car insurance for teens, we’ve listed 5 of our top tips for the modern teen driver. Some suggestions are new to today’s young drivers, and others are older than their grandparents. Continue reading to learn how to drive safer and smarter behind the wheel.
Get Acquainted with Your New (Or-New-to-You) Vehicle
It can be thrilling to get behind the wheel of a new vehicle, but also a little intimidating. With so many buttons, lights, and functions, it can be difficult to navigate the dash for the first time. You know where the brake and gas pedal are, but what about some of the lesser-used, but important features?
There is a lot of new technology available on today’s cars, including advanced GPS systems. Before you crank up the engine, make sure you know where all of your car’s most important features are located and familiarize yourself with their functions and purposes. Examples include:
- Hazard lights button
- Headlight and fog light control
- Windshield wiper control
- Cruise control
- Mirror adjustment control
- Speed gauge
- Oil pressure gauge
- Temperature gauge
- Fuel gauge
- Emergency brake
- Hood release
- Gas cap release
- And more
Cell Phones Are Bad News When Behind the Wheel
Besides having young passengers, cell phone use is the number one cause of distraction for teen drivers. Yet despite laws that ban texting while driving, it is still common.
Just last year, a Minnesota teen ran a red light because she was texting while driving. The incident led to a fatal collision that killed a father and his 10-year old daughter. The teen faced multiple charges after the accident, including criminal vehicular homicide and use of a phone while in motion.
The time to multi-task is not while behind the wheel, especially for new and inexperienced drivers. It takes 100 percent focus to operate a vehicle safely. Texting while driving or even talking on the phone requires a divided thought process that can be dangerous for young drivers. Not even hands-free Bluetooth devices eliminate the risk of a crash. Put down the phone completely, and don’t pick it up until you reach your destination – not even at a stop light.
Be a Courteous and Mindful Driver
One of the first things we recommend teen drivers learn is that you are 100 percent responsible for your own driving, as well as the driving of other people. What we mean by that is you cannot make assumptions when driving. For example, you may know to check your blind spot, but do not ride in someone else’s assuming they are responsible enough to check theirs.
Be Smart in Bad Weather
Here in Minnesota, snow, ice, and wet roads are a part of life. Driving in poor conditions can be hazardous even for the most experienced driver. It is important to always be weather-aware and prepared for dangerous conditions. We recommend:
- Keeping an ice scraper in your glove box
- Taking caution on bridges and overpasses since they freeze first
- Slowing down below the posted speed limit when visibility or road conditions are poor
- Testing your brakes to see how long it takes to stop before driving on slippery roads
Keep Your Future in Mind
There is a lot to think about behind the wheel. One of the most important things you should bear in mind is how your actions today will affect your future. Irresponsible driving can lead to serious financial and legal consequences, not to mention land you back in the passenger seat if your license is suspended.
Likewise, good driving habits can lead to positive outcomes. Maintaining a blemish-free driving record could qualify you for discounts on car insurance. You can also lower coverage costs by qualifying for good student discounts. Contact Wheaton Insurance for more information about car insurance for teens here in the Forest Lake area.