School is back in session and this means more new drivers on the road as teenagers commute to and from school. This can seem scary to both new and experienced drivers alike. No matter who you share the road with, or your level of experience there are several things you can do to increase your safety behind the wheel when school starts back this fall.
- Keep your eye on the prize. Most teenagers daydream and plan for that day when they have their own permit and the ability to enjoy the freedom of driving. Once you get that license, do not lose it through reckless behavior. The key is to remain wreck less by not behaving reckless.
- Remember that driving under the influence does not just mean driving while drunk. Driving under the influence can mean driving while a little buzzed, driving after taking cough medicine, or after taking illegal drugs. Drunk driving is not the only way to put your life in danger by driving under the influence. It is best to avoid driving while taking any medication until you fully understand your personal reaction to it.
- Did you know that sleep deprivation can make you drive like you’re drunk? And it does not take as much as you may think, after only being awake for 17-19 hours people performed worse than others with a blood alcohol level of .05%. The longer awake the more "drunk" a person will act, according to different studies done across the world. So if you stayed up all night cramming for exams, get a ride to school or you may be putting your life at risk.
- No texting and driving. Throw that phone in the trunk if the temptation to text is overwhelming. The dangers of texting and driving are extensive and it is even illegal in many places. Don’t risk your life or your new license and ticket to freedom over a text!
- On the note of texting and driving, distracted driving is dangerous. This means setting up a music playlist in advance and not fiddling with the radio and keeping your eyes on the road at all time. Whether you’re a new teen driver making your way back and forth to school each day or an experienced driver trying to avoid the new teen drivers keeping your eyes on the road at all times is vital.
- Understand that the commute to and from work and school often coincides with the most statistically likely time for an accident and drive with a bit of extra caution. The reason for the increase in accidents is a combination of increased vehicles on the road and people being distracted by the day to come or the day they are driving home from. No matter the stresses or excitements of the day, stay focused on the task at hand while driving.
- Do not drive near schools if you don’t have to. Just kidding! Clearly, avoiding new drivers completely is not possible, especially if you are one. However, you can keep in mind that the likelihood of encountering a less experienced driver is higher in certain areas and be extra cautious.
- Take a defensive driving course. Both new and experienced drivers can benefit greatly from a class that teaches extra skills behind the wheel. Voluntary enrollment can even save you money on car insurance in some cases. So it is win-win, with increased safety on the road and increased money in your pocket.
If you want to increase your safety while behind the wheel, or if you have received a citation and want to avoid points on your license, consider enrolling into a Defensive Driving course or if you have a teen driver at home ready to apply for they first license, have them check out a Teen Driver Education course.