Summer is the season of new drivers. While teens are getting their licenses throughout the year, it’s the Summer months when they start hitting the road in earnest. School is out, and so are they. So here are 10 safe driving tips for new drivers (and everyone else):
1. Wear your seatbelt
As soon as you get in your car, or anyone’s car, the first thing you should do is put on your seatbelt. By doing this one simple task, you’ll reduce your fatality chances by 45% in the event of a crash. Even if you ignore every other tip on this list, which you shouldn’t, there is literally no reason to ignore this one.
2. Don’t use your phone
Distracted driving is the number one cause of car accidents for teens, and it should come as no surprise that cell phones are a major distraction. Turning your phone off entirely is an extreme reaction to this because emergencies happen, but you should never be looking at your phone while on the road, even when stopped at a traffic light.
3. Never drive under the influence of drugs/alcohol
Whether or not you’re above the legal drinking age, mixing alcohol (or drugs) with driving is always a bad idea. Drugs and alcohol impair both your judgement and reaction times. In 2016, 28% of all fatal traffic accidents involved the use of alcohol.
4. Don’t drive on no sleep
Driving while tired might not seem like that big of a deal, but driving on 20 hours of no sleep is equivalent to driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08%, which is the legal limit in the U.S. Being tired also reduces your reaction times, and you are three times more likely to be involved in a crash.
5. Keep other distractions to a minimum
Cell phones, alcohol, and lack of sleep are all major distractions that should be avoided, but there are a few others you might not think of. These include eating, talking to passengers — especially those in the back seat, and changing the radio station. Basically anything that takes your attention off the road, even for a second, increases your chance of a crash.
6. Pay attention to road signs
You’d be surprised by how many people are seemingly oblivious to road signs. Whether it involves driving the wrong way down a street, or accidentally queuing up in a turning lane when you want to go straight, these mistakes can cause accidents. And the best way to avoid making these mistakes in the first place is to pay attention to the road signs. Just because you see someone else make an illegal U-turn doesn’t mean you should too.
7. Keep your distance
While rear ending another car often isn’t the most dangerous type of crash unless you’re moving at speeds above 35 mph, it’s still one of the most common and can cause injuries to the back and neck. Aside from simply paying attention to the road, the best way to avoid these accidents is to keep your distance from the car ahead of you. Follow the 2 second rule for cars and the 4 second rule for motorcycles to allow yourself time to react if they suddenly brake.
8. Check your blind spots
Many modern cars have blind spot detection, but even if your car is one of them it’s still important to check your blind spots before merging into another lane. Even if you properly use your mirrors, you can still miss a vehicle if it’s in your blind spot.
9. Obey the speed limit
The speed limit is there for a reason. Even if you think a speed limit is too slow, it’s likely to protect you from things you hadn’t even considered, such as blind turns, dangerous crosswinds, slick surfaces when wet, or hidden driveways just to name a few. Even if it seems like everyone else around you is speeding, that doesn’t mean you should be too.
It’s also important to remember that speed limits are an upper limit. You may find some instances in which you don’t feel comfortable going the full speed limit, and that’s okay.
10. Don’t block the intersection
You may have noticed that major intersections sometimes have signs specifically saying not to block the intersection. However, even when these signs aren’t present it’s a good rule to follow. Even if you have a green light, if the car ahead of you isn’t pulled up enough for you to be out of the intersection, wait. You might have to sit through one extra cycle of the traffic lights, but that’s better than jamming up the intersection for everyone else.
There are a lot of hazards out on the roadways, but that doesn’t mean you should be afraid to drive. Simply by following these 10 tips you can drastically reduce your chances of being in an accident. It’s also important to remember that many of these safety tips are also the law. So even if you don’t get in an accident, you could still get a ticket for violating them.
Zingani Collision is here to help!
Unfortunately, even if you practice safe driving, accidents are bound to occur. In the U.S. alone there are six million car accidents every year. Luckily, Zingani Collision is here to help. Zingani provides a 5-year warranty on all repairs and works directly with your insurance company to take the stress off your shoulders. If you’re worried about your repair costs, Zingani will work with you on a payment plan that fits your finances. We also have a 24/7 towing service you can contact to safely get your car off the road. Contact Zingani Collision today and we’ll get your vehicle back on the road.