I still remember when I took my permit test, sat through driver's education classes, and passed my road test. Although it seems like yesterday, it's been quite a while (nearly two years). But now my younger sister has her permit, she passed her test very recently. And it's scary to think that soon she'll be behind the wheel on her own and at her very own risk.
So I've dug through my memories of when I was a new driver, recollecting driving tips and safety advice that I knew, and maybe would have liked to have known, back then.
1. Always adjust
If your parents permit you to use their vehicle, make sure you always adjust everything: mirrors, seats, etc. You do not want to be uncomfortable, and you certainly don't want to prohibit necessary movement, because both can distract you from the important task at hand: driving. If you are a junior operator and are lucky enough to have your own car, this rule still applies every time you go out driving. Just because you were comfortable on the ride to Joe's house doesn't mean that you will feel that same comfort (and safety) without adjusting your seats as you head home from Joe's. Always adjust.
2. Do not drive others illegally
You've probably heard this rule a thousand times over. There's a reason for that: DO NOT DO IT. If you get caught, the consequences are severe. Don't ruin yourself and your record before you even begin. Wait the six months. For more information about this law, check out our blog here.
3. Do not rush
Sometimes when you approach a yellow light, you may want to slam on the gas to make it through the intersection. Don't. Developing road rage and aggressive driving habits as a young 'un is never a good idea. Just take a deep breath and do not put yourself in dangerous situations. If there isn't a traffic light, and you are on a side road and want to enter the main road, the same thing applies. If there's any form of traffic coming, DO NOT GO. I learned this the hard way- I went for it, crashed, and paid nearly $1000 to get my car fixed. IT'S. NOT. WORTH. IT. DO. NOT. RUSH.
4. Stop when you should stop
Similar to the step before: do not rush, especially stop signs. Always make the full and complete stop. What? It adds maybe a few extra seconds to your arrival time. Trust me, make the full stop. Which means another thing: slow down as you approach the stop. You don't want jerky stops- they're dangerous and can hurt passengers as well as not provide a warning for a car behind you. Even if they're at-fault because they rear-ended you, be a courteous driver so things like that don't happen.
5. Be safe, be smart
This requires simple common sense- if the traffic is moving at 35 miles per hour; don't go 25; don't go 45. Don't do anything risky like changing lanes at a dangerous time. Don't break the law. No speeding, no driving others, watch the legal curfew, etc. To be a SAFE driver, you've got to be a SMART driver.
Maybe I'm preaching to the choir; all new drivers have heard these tips. But if you follow the advice and work on these driving skills while you're still young, you won't get into any legal trouble, and your insurance when you're older will be beautiful.
Good luck and stay safe with the driving!
If you have any other questions about teenage driving or auto insurance, do not hesitate to contact us here at Gordon Insurance. For a free Teen Driver Download Kit, simply click the button below.