Becoming a teenager is an awesome feeling. You feel like you are nearing the age where you can live on your own and be free. At sixteen, you are still not quite ready to make the leap to full independence but in most states you have reached the legal age to drive. That is a major milestone that can give you the feeling of freedom- at least when you are in the car.
While driving on your own is a great experience it is also a huge responsibility. Every time you get in a car and head out on to the roads you are in a situation where safety must be priority to make sure you do not put yourself or other passengers in harm’s way. We don’t want to sound like your parents. No nagging here. We are just looking out for your best interests and that means being honest about the ways that you can drive.
New drivers make the same few mistakes so if you know about them in advance you can steer clear of them (pardon the pun) and make sure you do not have to deal with big consequences. The five most common teen driving mistakes, the consequences of making them, and the ways to avoid them are:
- Driving while distracted
- Getting behind the wheel while sleepy
- Not driving defensively
- Driving while intoxicated
Driving while distracted
It is very easy nowadays to be distracted at any moment. Distractions while driving are a recipe for disaster. The consequences can be everything from scaring the daylights out of yourself and your passengers, or getting a ticket, up to actually crashing your car and sustaining injuries. Not to mention the unthinkable- causing a death. A car is tons of metal and steel and nothing to be played around with. To make sure you are not distracted while driving put your cell phone on silent, not vibrate, and put it in your bag or pocket out of your sight. It’s just human nature if your phone vibrates, rings or flashes to look at it. You can try to leave it on audible or visual alert and resist the urge but you will probably be unable to if it alerts more than one time. Just remove the temptation. Also, eliminate other distractions such as loud music and put bags or anything else you might be tempted to look at in the back seat or trunk.
Getting behind the wheel while sleepy
Your parents might agree to get a car for you because you are a great student and involved with lots of activities at high school or college. That is excellent. Remember, however, that doing school work is draining to your body and brain. It is better to take a break than to be sorry. The consequences of driving while sleepy could be a fender bender or a bad crash. If you find yourself really tired and you need to drive home or somewhere else do not hesitate to take a nap first.
Not driving defensively
Lots of things can cause crashes. One driver is always more at fault than the other or may be completely at fault. This means you have to be a defensive driver, always keeping your eyes on the road, focusing on how you are driving but also focusing on what other drivers are doing too. Lots of things can keep you from driving defensively like novice driving skills and a car full of friends. The consequences of not driving defensively can be near accidents, traffic tickets, damages to your car, or a terrible crash. You can avoid this by taking a defensive driving class at an online traffic school. You will have to take something like this if you ever get in a car crash or get a speeding ticket, so avoid the worse by being proactive and doing it in advance so you never get the ticket or have the crash in the first place.
Driving while intoxicated
Without question, drinking and driving are a toxic twosome. This is one you want to avoid completely. The consequences can be a crash or an embarrassing legal situation brought on by a DUI. This can ruin your academic, social and professional reputation. The way to avoid this is simple: If you have been drinking, hitch a ride or take a cab.
So, for all of you new and even experienced drivers, drive safely and be aware of your surroundings while driving. You do not want to face grave consequences for a careless mistake.
Created by NTSI, enhancing individual responsibility one attitude at a time.