Being a teen driver isn’t easy. You’re developing a new skill, and the consequences of making mistakes while doing so can have serious ramifications, such as auto accidents that result in injuries, deaths, and serious car damage. And, then there’s the impact your errors have on your car insurance rates.
Knowing what types of driving mistakes you’re most likely to experience can reduce the chances of you making them. So, let’s examine some common teenage driving mistakes.
Avoid These Teen Driving Mistakes
As an inexperienced driver, it’s tougher for you to judge your speed and how long it will take to stop. While your reflexes may be sharp, your interpretation of situations isn’t as developed as an older driver. It takes time and practice to improve this, so it’s important to slow down and obey the posted traffic speeds.
Don’t feel embarrassed about driving under the posted speed when you’re not feeling comfortable behind the wheel―even when other drivers whiz by you. Those drivers likely have much more road experience than you do, and it could be that they are engaging in risky behavior.
2) Getting Distracted
A number of distractions can keep a driver from noticing and correcting dangerous situations on the road. When you’re talking or texting on a cell phone, eating, or even fiddling with the radio, you are taking your eyes off the road and your attention away from your surroundings.
For example, did you know that sending one text takes your eyes off the road for 4.6 seconds. At 55 miles an hour, this means you’d drive the length of a football field while looking down at your phone!
Distractions hinder your ability to:
- Scan the road effectively.
- Locate potential trouble early.
- Take the necessary corrective action.
Distracted driving is a leading cause of deaths to teens. Stay safe and keep your focus on the road.
3) Taking Unnecessary Risks
Driving a car has inherent risk, and when combined with poor choices such as speeding through a yellow light, you increase your chances of causing car crashes.
Avoid taking unnecessary risks like:
- Neglecting to check your blind spots.
- Not using your turn signal.
- Speeding excessively.
- Driving with under the influence.
- Driving while distracted.
4) Failing to Keep a Proper Distance
Teens often overestimate their ability to stop their cars in time. Always maintain an adequate safety margin from the car ahead of you.
The higher the speed, the more braking space you need.
5) Not Wearing a Seat Belt
Seat belts play a critical role in eliminating injuries or reducing the severity of injuries you might sustain in a car accident. Sometimes a seat belt even decides who survives a crash. So, buckle up.
6) Over-Correcting and Other Emergency Errors
At times, you must swerve your car or quickly correct the direction of your wheels. Many times, teen drivers over-compensate in these situations, and make a dangerous situation worse by losing control of their car.
It’s difficult to master emergency handling skills, but you can easily learn to anticipate dangerous situations, which will limit the need to apply these emergency skills. Keeping a safe speed helps, too.
7) Driving While Tired
As a teen, you need a lot of sleep―more than most adults. Yet, your schedule may not let you get the rest your body and mind require. This leads to driving while drowsy, which delays reaction time, decreases awareness, and results in auto accidents.
You may feel you’re fine to drive when you’re not; better to let someone else drive when you’re struggling to stay awake. If you’re alone, you’re better off pulling to the side of the road and resting until you feel ok to drive than trying to make it home.
8) Having Teen Passengers
It’s natural to want to drive with the company of your friends, but doing so can be dangerous. Passengers can distract you, or cause you to drive more aggressively than you should.
A single teen passenger in your car can increase the risk of causing a car accident.
9) Driving the Wrong Car
When it comes to the car you drive, you may not have a choice. But, if you do, opt for one with the latest safety features, and a solid crash safety record. Don’t choose a powerful, high-performance car, as it’s too easy to lose control of these vehicles as an inexperienced driver.
And, avoid large cars, as they can be a challenge to handle, especially in tight situations.
Teen Drivers and Safety
As a teen, you are likely to make mistakes, but don’t drive scared―just drive smart and follow the tips mentioned. Doing so greatly improves the chances of arriving to your destination safely, time after time.