Teen Driving Safety Tips
Before you drive...
Put on your seat belt and make sure all your passengers buckle up, too.
Adjust your car's headrest to a height behind your head--not your neck--to minimize whiplash in case you're in an accident.
Don't drive with small children or even small teenage friends as passengers in a front seat that has a passenger-side air bag. They should be buckled up in the back seat. Recent transportation studies show that small children and even small teens and adults may be injured by the air bags even in low impact collisions. (Actually, it's safer not to drive with friends and kids in the car when you're learning to drive. They can be distracting.)
Never try to fit more people in the car than you have seat belts for them to use.
Use good quality tires and make sure they are inflated to the right pressure (check your owner’s manual for what is right for your tires and car).
Maintain your car. Bald tires, a slipping transmission, bad brakes, or a hesitant engine could lead to accidents.
Make sure your windshield is clean. At sun rise and sun set, light reflecting off your dirty windshield can momentarily blind you from seeing what's going on.
Make sure your car has gas in it. Don't ride around with the gauge on empty--who knows where you might get stranded.
Don't drink and drive, and don't ride with anyone who has been drinking. Call parents or friends to take you home if you need a ride.
Don't take drugs or drive if you've taken any. Don't ride with anyone who has been using drugs. Even some over the counter drugs can make you drowsy. Check label for warnings.
Use a designated driver when going out for a night on the town with friends. This person does not drink at all and has the responsibility of getting people home safely. (Drinking and driving DO NOT MIX)
If parked inside a garage, make sure your garage door is completely open before backing out of it.
Use headlights during daylight driving, especially on long stretches of desert highway and rural roads to make you more visible to oncoming drivers.
When driving to a new place, get complete directions before you go. Figure out exactly where you are going before you head down the road.
While you drive...
Don't drive like you own the road; drive like you own the car.
Obey the speed limits--going too fast gives you less time to stop or react. Excess speed is one of the main causes of teenage accidents.
Obey stop signs and traffic lights -- don't run yellow or RED lights.
When light turns green, make sure the intersection is clear before you go.
Use turn signals to indicate your intention to turn or to change lanes. Turn it on to give the drivers behind you enough time to react before you take the action. Also, make sure the signal turns off after you've completed the action.
Share the road with others – watch out for motorcycles, bikes, and pedestrians.
Don't blast the radio, CD, or MP3 player. You might miss hearing a siren or a horn that could warn you of possible trouble.
Don't fiddle with the radio or your ipod while you are driving. It's better to wait until you can pull over and stop because even taking your focus off the road for a few seconds could lead to an accident.
Don't talk on the cell phone, text, put on make-up, comb your hair, or eat while driving. People who talk on cell phones while driving are four times more likely to have an accident. If you need to make a call or text someone, pull off the road to a safe spot and park the car.
Don't leave your car in cruise control when you're driving late at night or when you're tired. If you fall asleep at the wheel, the car will crash at the speed you've set your control to maintain.
Be aware of the weather, traffic congestion, and road conditions – stay alert!
Watch out for potholes, especially after bad weather.
Be a courteous and safe driver at all times.
Tips provided courtesy of TeenDriving.com
Florida Sheriffs Association Teen Driver Challenge
Other Resources: Teens Drive with Care