There is no greater fear in the minds of a mother or father than a child being involved in an automobile accident. In Virginia, at 16 years and three months a person has the right to set for the Virginia driver’s test. At such a young age it is hard to explain the importance of safety and impress upon the new motorist that death, serious bodily disfigurement, or even the potential for jail can result from mismanaging an automobile. If your son or daughter is close to getting their driver’s license, this article sets out 10 tips that every teen driver needs to know to be safe and stay alive. As a personal injury attorney I’ve had to deal with the heartbreak of families that have lost loved ones in automobile accidents. The grief they express is something I would never wish upon any other person.
- Wear your seatbelt, always. This sounds like a no-brainer but every year thousands of people die in an accident that could’ve been prevented had they worn their seatbelt. It takes three seconds to fasten the seat belt and the injuries that could prevent may save you years of recovery time.
- Make sure you’re well rested before driving. There is no substitute for sleep. So if you’re tired don’t trust an energy drink, call a loved one or a friend to give you a ride. They’d rather give you a ride than come to your funeral.
- Drive sober. Drinking and driving is not only dangerous but if you get stopped and arrested it is a very expensive and complicated process to endure. Don’t risk the fines, the jail time, or having to get an interlock system on your car. In Virginia, Interlock devices are now mandatory for every first offense DUI for the 1st six months of a mandatory one year suspended driver’s license.
- Never ride with anyone who has been drinking. It does not matter how far someone is driving. You should never risk driving with an intoxicated person. Intoxication impairs one’s ability to make decisions while driving. Accident response time is significantly slower and makes the likelihood of serious injuries more probable.
- Excessive speeding is never smart. Driving a car is a privilege and it is not designed to be a game. Cars are not designed to protect you against exorbitant speeding.
- Watch for pedestrians and bicycles. Remember you may own a license, own a car, but you do not own the road – so share it by looking out for those you could hurt.
- Leave your cellphone alone while driving. Texting while driving is now a $500 fine and the risks you take by distractions of all kinds from your driving are unnecessary. Very few conversations are that important to risk your life. This includes email checking, texting, photo uploads, tweeting, facebook sharing, and, oh yes, talking on the phone.
- If the weather is bad, pull over. if you can’t see then you probably need to pull over. Heavy rain or snow can both be fatal. It’s not just your driving, but that of others ahead on the highway you can’t see, that can hurt you.
- Be mindful of other drivers. Trying to cut people off could result in an unnecessary accident. Arrive alive, don’t try to beat some other car into that clear spot in the next lane!
- Don’t over correct your vehicle. If your car drops off the side of a road do not jerk the steering wheel hard. Doing so will cause the car to lose control and flip. It is the number one mistake new drivers make. In icy conditions, steer into the direction of your spin. Don’t slam on brakes, just ease them while slowing moving the wheel to correct your direction.
Certainly there are many more tips and possible suggestions that could be made in terms of driving safely. As a new motorist you have to remember that it is a great responsibility and a privilege to be able to travel on your own. Anything you do in life will always have rules and these tips help ensure that you stay alive, and don’t end up hurt or in jail because of one stupid mistake or poor judgment. If you are a teenage driver and you do end up in a car accident, call the Strong Law Firm as we may be able to help your case.