Things All Teen Drivers Should Know

Let's just put it right out there: teen drivers are scary. They're new at the game, so their inexperience is worrisome. Worse, some don't take driving as the serious privilege it is, which causes a whole separate set of issues that the rest of us have to deal with.

Insurance rates for young drivers are high for a reason: they're much more likely to have car accidents than their elders. This is reflected in the fact that, in the U.S. at least, car crashes represent the #1 cause of death for people between the ages of 16 and 24.

Logical Precautions

Drilling new drivers on the rules of the road and the seriousness of driving is simply the smart thing to do. Ideally, it makes them less of a danger not just to themselves, but also to everyone else. Don't assume that they learned it all in Driver's Ed; they may have, but repetition will help them remember.

In order to teach the proper things things to a teen driver, you'll have to sit down and make a sincere effort to remember and articulate them. You've probably been driving for a quite a while; many of the basics are so ingrained in your subconscious that you don't deliberately think about them when driving.

The exception, of course, will be right after you've taken a defensive driving course to reduce or avoid a traffic ticket; they'll repeat all the basics more than you want them to. But most of us only get these refresher courses occasionally, so many of these things may not be top-of-mind.

We're Here For You

Luckily, you've got us to help. If your memory's a bit rusty, take a look at this list, and go over these things at the very least when you sit down to lecture your new driver.

• Focus! Driving requires your full attention.
• Fasten your seatbelt immediately upon getting into the car, unless you have passengers you must restrain first.
• While driving, use your side mirrors every 5-7 seconds.
• Keep an eye on all the cars immediately ahead of you, behind you, and to the sides.
• Never EVER drink and drive. Even a little alcohol can impair your judgment, not to mention it's against the law if you're under-age.
• Know the side effects of your prescription drugs and be careful about mixing them and driving.
• Eliminate distractions, whether music, cell phones, or annoying passengers. DO NOT TEXT.
• Avoid driving when you're sleepy.
• Wear your seatbelt (it bears repeating).

These are just the basics. Now, some will seem pedantic, and your teen won't want to hear them again. But ignore the eye-rolls, and tell them anyway. You can never caution teen drivers enough.

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