One of the scariest days of a parent’s life is the day their teenager takes off in a car all by themselves for the first time. Teenagers get their licenses when they are skilled enough to operate the vehicle, but a lot of the time they are unaware of safe driving practices. Adults are even prone to poor driving, often a result of being preoccupied while they are behind the wheel.
If you keep these simple things in mind as you drive, the road will be a safer place for everyone. Share these guidelines with your teenagers as they are learning to drive and they will use them for a lifetime.
Headlights should be used at all times of the day. It is easier for a driver to see you, even in the daylight, if your lights are always on. This is really important when the sun is rising and setting. Glare from the sun can blind the driver coming towards you, and they are better able to see you if you have your lights on.
Always be courteous to other drivers at night. Keep your headlights on low beam if someone is coming towards you or they are traveling directly in front of you. You may be able to see better, but they may be blinded.
Fog lights come on many newer models of cars and trucks. These are a great extra source of light when there is fog, but should not be used other wise. Too many drivers use them to see better at night, but they don’t realize they are blinding the drivers coming towards them.
Use low beams in heavy rain or snow. It may seem like common sense to use high beams in low visibility settings, but the high beams illuminate the snowflakes and raindrops, making it harder for you to see the road in front of you.
The speed posted is a maximum and we all know you should not go over that speed. When you are driving on an unknown road, it may not be wise to go as fast as the limit allows. Unexpected turns and hidden stops can pop up anywhere.
When it comes to bad weather, use your best judgment. There is no reason to keep up with the other traffic. Logical thinking would be if they are OK at that speed, you should be too. This is flawed however, because all cars are different. Some handle bad road conditions better than others.
Teenagers are notorious for piling friends into the car and going for a drive. For most teenagers just starting out, this is not a good idea. It’s too easy for them to get distracted by the conversation going on in the car and the music playing on the radio. Limit teens to one passenger, or to no passengers, until they have been driving for a while.
Adults run into problems when they have young children in the car. The simple act of reaching down for a toy can cause an accident. The same holds true for talking on phones, looking over work, trying to apply makeup, eating, or drinking while driving. If something can’t wait, pull over until you are done.
No matter how careful you are on the road, you still have to watch out for everyone else. Keep a safe distance behind the driver in front of you. A good rule of them is one car length for every ten miles per hour you are traveling.
Don’t forget about blind spots when passing on the highway. No matter how well you position your rearview mirrors, there is a spot along side your car you cannot view. You have to be extra careful that no one is riding along in this position before you turn into the next lane over.
Many accidents happen when drivers swerve to miss animals. If a deer jumps in front of you, someone may rear-end you if you slam on your brakes. Try to avoid the animal if you can, but do not cross over into on coming traffic. Switch to low beams as soon as you see the animal (so they are not blinded) and use your horn to jolt them off of the road.
There is no such thing as a perfect driver, but you should do everything you can to make each trip in your car safe, even if you are just going down the street to the grocery store. You may not be able to avoid every accident, but you can help eliminate problems caused by your own driving.