It’s a wonderful time in a young person’s life: graduation, end of the school year, summer break, being on the verge of adulthood with your whole life ahead of you…yet for too many, this promise is cut short by a tragedy that could easily have been avoided. Parents and their children need to be aware of common-sense safe driving tips for teens as they get behind the wheel in the coming weeks.
A Car is Not a “Partymobile”
States are cracking down on the number of passengers that are allowed to ride in a vehicle when a teenager is behind the wheel. Under the “graduated driver’s license” laws that many states are now adopting, teen drivers are often not allowed to carry passengers at all unless there is an adult riding along.
The reason: teens in a group tend to be rowdy. This is in their nature, and under normal conditions, there’s nothing wrong with it. However, the operator of a two-ton piece of equipment hurtling along at speeds between 35 and 60 miles per hour needs to be able to focus on the road. Loud, raucous conversation and movement in the vehicle is not only distracting to the driver (who understandably wants to join in the fun), it can also compromise vehicle stability, making the car more difficult to control.
In any event, if you, as a teenage driver, are carrying a car full of your rowdy friends, you’re not only putting yourself and others at risk; if you are pulled over by an officer of the law, you may wind up losing your driving privileges altogether.
This, by the way also includes loud music and eating or drinking beverages while driving; both of these can take your attention away from the road.
NO Cell Phones or Texting!
This is another dangerous distraction that take away from the job of driving. Most states now have laws against cell phone use while the vehicle is in motion. The fact is that none of us are so important that we need to be taking or making phone calls when driving; whatever the issue is, it can wait until you have had a chance to pull over and bring the vehicle to a complete stop.
To quote NPR’s “Tappet Brothers,” Bob and Ray Magliozzi: “hang up and drive [and vice-versa].”
In recent years, texting, using Facebook, Tweeting, and other forms of social media have caused way too many accidents on our roadways. When you are behind the wheel, you need to realize that your safety is the most important thing, and that text or tweet you are about to send out can wait until you get home!
Alcohol is NOT an Option
Too many high-speed fatalities on America’s highways are attributable to alcohol. It’s a serious issue with adults, but if you, as an underage teen, are caught with any alcohol in your system whatsoever – even if you are not legally intoxicated – it will go much worse for you. Not only will you face DUI charges, you will be charged as a minor in possession of alcohol and you can kiss your driver’s license goodbye until you reach the age of majority.
When you think about it, there are plenty of alternatives to driving drunk. When you think of the consequences, it’s really not worth it!