Young Drivers Safety Guide

Young Drivers Safety Guide

Inexperience is a high risk for young drivers. 

As a result, they have a high percentage of speeding tickets and crashes involving single-vehicle crashes. 

The reason? They are driving too aggressively and showing off to friends. 

The number one cause of death in teenage driving is due to not wearing proper restraints, such as seat belts, and underestimating the dangers in hazardous situations.

In Brisbane, My Driving School is a family-owned business with a staff of professional drivers who work with young drivers. They teach safe driving techniques and skills to help keep young drivers safe.

Their methods include teaching dry steering while the vehicle is stationary which helps in making a three-point turn. They work through a list of maneuvers in teaching their students how to take off on a hill, how to perform a turnaround and a safe U-turn, reversing in a straight line, reversing into a parallel park situation, and changing gears. 

My Driving School works with drivers – they teach them that paying attention is a key factor in driving safely.

Understanding Speed Laws

One thing new drivers need to understand is the meaning of a posted speed zone. A new driver is driving down the road at the current posted limit of 40kph. When they see a new sign posted saying the new speed is 60kph, some new drivers automatically begin speeding up. What they need to understand is that the posted sign is where the actual change in speed takes effect. So they are technically speeding because they are going 60kph+ by the time they get to the sign.

The reverse is in effect for lower speed zones. When the new driver is going 60kph and they see a 40kph speed zone coming up, they tend to wait until they reach the sign before slowing down. By the time they reach the sign they should be going 40kph. As a result of them not understanding or following this rule, many new drivers make the mistake of speeding and end up getting fined for speeding.

Many drivers, even experienced ones, tend to forget that a stop sign requires the driver to come to a complete stop. This means the tires are not rolling and the vehicle must stop behind the line. Rolling too far over the line can cause an accident with another vehicle or possibly running into a pedestrian who may be crossing the road.

Understanding Vehicle Maintenence

As a young driver, starting safe and knowing your vehicle will prevent costly maintenance fees and insurance costs. It will also prevent unnecessary visits to the courts and facing criminal charges. 

Starting safe by checking your vehicle’s tires, wipers, and lights, ensuring proper maintenance with oil, transmission, and washer fluids levels are proper will prevent maintenance issues. 

While driving, young drivers should remain alert, be courteous, and pay attention to their lights’ high and low beam settings. 

Driving with your high beams on can cause the oncoming driver to be blinded. Even if momentarily, they could run into something or swerve into your lane, causing an accident.

Young drivers can be overconfident at times and misjudge distances or forget to look when they are backing up. 

Pulling out of a parking spot, looking over their shoulder, they tend to forget to look both ways and don’t see the car coming. 

Or, they miss the other car pulling out at the same time and back into one another.

Wearing Seat Belts

The number one rule in safety for young drivers is wearing a seat belt. Some of them see it as a hassle and restrictive. Restriction is what they are designed for. In the event of an accident, wearing a seat belt dramatically reduces the risk of the driver and passengers from being tossed around in the vehicle. Wearing the safety belt helps to prevent head injuries. Although the car may be equipped with airbags, wearing a seat belt is still the safest way to travel.

For the new driver, taking a driving lesson even if they ‘know how to drive’ could mean the difference between life and death. Having someone explaining the risk, watching videos and seeing the dangers can actually open a young drivers mind. There are dangers everywhere when driving and young drivers need to be made aware of them. Especially when hanging out with friends, even a small amount of alcohol or drugs can impair your driving. Just don’t do it, your life could depend on it.

Limiting Passengers

Studies show that limiting the number of teen passengers who are allowed to ride with a new driver lowers the risk of crashes. The more people in the car, the more distracted the driver can become. 

So many states are passing laws restricting several passengers a teenager is allowed to have in the vehicle while they are learning to drive. Limiting distractions while driving is always the safest. 

It’s recommended that all drivers avoid eating or doing anything that requires them to remove their hands from the steering wheel. 

Everyone is guilty of this… how many times have you as an experienced driver stopped to grab a bite and eat on the way? Taking a bite of that burger, a pickle, onion, or piece of tomato falls out and you try to catch it before it lands on your shirt causing a big mess. 

Reaching for it, the steering wheel jerks and you nearly drop your entire hamburger as you try to regain control. You look around to see if anyone has seen you before quickly going about your way, still eating your burger.

Avoiding Distractions While Driving

This next point is somehow related to the last one – avoid distractions. 

Even when you’re on your own, distractions are still present.

The main culprit is no other than your smartphone. You receive a message – you can’t help but check it even if it’s just a marketing SMS sent anonymously. Your phone rings – why can’t you just pull over and receive the call? 

Young drivers think they can drive while texting or answering a call – yes they can, but that’s not the point. Anything can happen within that one milli-second that you take your eyes off the road – and in the worst-case scenario – it can cost your life.

So yes, you did not miss answering your girlfriend’s message, but little do you know, it could be the last message that she’ll receive from you.

 The bottom line is: Do your multitasking when you’re not driving. Efficiency pays off when you’re safely seated in your office chair, working as you should. But getting things done while you’re on the road won’t do you any good.

There’s a limit in the amount of information we can process at a time, and driving alone demands a lot of information for us to take in – you have to check the road signs, you have to monitor the vehicles around you, and sometimes, even pedestrians, and you need to focus on the driving wheel, brakes, accelerator, among others. You don’t need to add more to that.

Young drivers are more at risk if they allow distractions to take over. Do you know why? Yes, they have less driving experience. And in case of a crash, it’s harder for them to react faster and think of how to safely maneuver – this is something that can’t be learned in classroom theory.

Avoid distractions by teaching young drivers the proper way to drive, learning the rules of the road will keep them, and other drivers, safe.

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