Driving and getting a driver's license is an anticipated and exciting privilege for many teenagers. However, learning to drive, and to drive safely, takes time, practice and diligence. Helpful tips can ease the stress and anxieties common with learning to drive and driving in general.
The first tip to safe driving is to buckle your seatbelt. While driving, keep alert to your surroundings and to any changes in the weather. Keep your eyes moving by checking mirrors, watching the roadsides and the road ahead for potential problems. Be prepared to stop and don't tailgate. If it is raining or getting dark, turn on your lights. After stopping at a stop sign, check and double-check that the roads are clear before entering the intersection. Avoid the need to speed by allowing sufficient travel time to reach your destination. If drowsy or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including medications, have someone else drive.
Driving in Bad Weather
One trick to keeping your windshields from becoming covered with ice during a winter storm is to place floor mats, large plastic bags or a piece of cardboard over the windshield. Use the wipers to hold the covering in place. Remove the coverings before driving.
If possible, try to avoid driving in bad weather. However, if you must drive, be prepared for the weather. In the winter, warm up the car before driving, keep an ice scraper in the car, top off washer fluids and antifreeze. Test the brakes on potentially slippery roads before venturing into faster traffic areas. When driving in bad weather, brake gently, drive slower and increase the distance between your vehicle and other vehicles or obstacles. Do not brake on corners but instead brake in straighter areas. If your vehicle goes into a spin or if the brakes lock, let up on the accelerator and then brake gently.
Bugs and Other Distractions
Distracted drivers often cause accidents, therefore, minimize distractions while driving. Don't text and drive; instead use hands-free phones. Pull over if the conversation is distracting you from keeping your focus on the road. Also, if a bug or spider appears inside the vehicle while you are driving, pull over to deal with it.
The primary concern while driving in the country is animals. Deer, raccoons, skunk and domestic animals run across the road and may cause an accident by being hit or by causing the driver to swerve to avoid the animal. Keep in mind that often when one animal crosses a road, another one may be following close behind.
Driving in the city also has its complications. In heavy traffic, inpatient or angry drivers take risks that lead to accidents. It is best to avoid making eye contact with angry drivers and give them plenty of room.
Also, be a courteous driver. Don't overreact to small incidents, tailgate or block the right lanes. Use signals properly, and if you make a mistake, gesture an apology. Use signals when merging into traffic. Carry a cell phone in case of emergencies and call 911 if another driver is driving erratically.
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