The top five risks for teen drivers are driving at night, distractions (cell phones, too many teen passengers), speeding or racing, not wearing a safety belt, and driving under the influence of alcohol.
Here are a few friendly tips to keep you safe whether you’re driving or riding to school, or going anywhere else in a car:
- Driving at night – Since you’re going to be waking up earlier than you are used to, make sure you go to bed early. Studies show that driving while you’re tired can decrease your reaction time, impair your vision or judgment, and can increase your chances of getting into a car crash. There is no substitute for a good night’s sleep.
- Distractions – Talking and texting on the cell phone while you’re driving is extremely dangerous and has been a hot topic this summer. If you’re too tempted to answer that call or text, turn off your phone while you’re driving. You can always turn it back on when you get to your destination. Teen passengers can also be a big distraction. If you are carrying extra passengers (or are a passenger yourself), make sure they are mindful of the driver’s concentration.
- Speeding or racing – If you double your speed, from 30 mph to 60 mph, the distance it takes you to stop the car is not twice as long, but is FOUR times as long. Don’t be in a rush. The place you’re going will still be there, even if you are five minutes late.
- Wearing your safety belt – Only 25 percent of teen back seat passengers wear their safety belt. Make sure to buckle up every time. Doing so could save your life.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol – Drivers are way less likely to be mindful of the other four risks, when their judgment is clouded by alcohol. Drinking makes you stupid. It can also make you dead.
If your school doesn’t already have a Teens in the Driver Seat® program, right now is a great time to start one. Contact your regional representative for more information. If your school is a second year (or more) Teens in the Driver Seat® school, you can order more promotional items.