Getting a driver’s license does not guarantee that you will be safe on the road. Even experienced drivers can falter when driving. For new drivers, navigating the road can be risky since they’re bound to face several unexpected situations. In fact, motor vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of U.S. teen deaths, finds Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s WISQARS (Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System). And the problem is big enough.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2,163 U.S. teens aged between 16 and 19 were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2013. It also indicates that another 243,243 teens in the U.S. were admitted to the emergency departments for treating car crash related injuries in the same year. This means, almost six teens between 16 and 19 are killed daily in the country due to motor vehicle accidents.
CDC’s reports also suggest that although young people aged between 15 and 24 represent just 14% of the country’s population, they account for around $19 billion (30%) of the total costs related to motor vehicle damages among male population and $7 billion (28%) among females.
It is also found that young male drivers and passengers aged between 16 and 19 are mostly at risk; in fact, almost two times compared to their female counterparts. Car crash risk is extremely high for newly licensed drivers, particularly during the first months of their licensure. To help in this regard, this post presents a few tips that can make driving a relatively safer proposition for new drivers.
1. Get More Training
Even after you have passed your license test, you need to get more training to really start pulling away alone on a busy street. When you are preparing for your licensure and/or learning to drive, instructors usually show you the ropes in all possible conditions. But in real life you won’t be driving through quiet back streets but in busy towns and motorways. In addition, you will have to drive in bad weather as well as at night too. More often than not, you need to drive in less than favourable environments on a regular basis.
To be on the safer side, always opt for some further driving education workshops, either through your insurance company or a local safety organization. Completing advance level training helps you learn to drive on motorways, in busy towns, at night, in all kind of weather and in almost all sort of stressful environments that you are likely to experience in real life. It will not only help you become a better driver, these advance level training classes also help you find a cheaper insurance premium as they reduce your chances of getting involved in a car accident.
2. Follow the Safety Rules
No amount of training can help you on the road if you fail to follow the safety rules. And there are certain rules you must never break for you will not only be penalized for disobeying them if caught, they may even cost you your life. You should, for example, always wear your seat belt and make sure your passengers have buckled up before you start the car.
There are some other rules as well that you must always follow. These include:
- Never cross the speed limit. Exceeding the speed limit is one of the major reasons for teen car accidents as excess speed gives you less time to react or stop your car.
- Your windshield must also be clear as a dirty windshield will not only impair your visibility, light reflecting of them during sunrise and sunset can blind you momentarily.
- Never drink and drive. Driving under the influence is another reason for teen deaths in the U.S. You are not only putting your and your passenger(s) life at risk, but are also jeopardizing others on the road.
- Make sure the height of the headrest of your car is behind your head and not your neck. This will help you minimize whiplash, if you get into an accident.
- Stay away from distractions while you are driving. Distracted driving, which involves any other activities while driving that take your focus off the road, is a major cause of motor vehicle accidents in the country. A recent AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety report found that distraction causes 58% of teen driver car accidents.
In addition, there are other safety rules you need to follow while on the road. In case you get involved into a motor vehicle crash, remember that the other parties involved in the crash will try to blame it on you even if they were at fault. And disobeying any of these rules and others will only give the opponent party’s car accident lawyers the much-needed opportunity they will be looking for to save their client’s skin.
3. Know Your Car
Before driving your new shiny car, take some time to get know it. Sit in your new car and turn it on and enjoy the feel. Take a look at the various buttons inside and learn about their functionalities. Where are the switches for your vehicle’s front and rear light or the hazard light? How do you switch on your corresponding warning lights? How do you turn your radio and GPS on/off?
You need to know these little things before you start driving down the street. In fact, you need to be absolutely sure about these features as activating/deactivating any of them in a hurry can take your focus away from the road, leading to an accident.
4. Take Care of the Blind Spot
Every time you turn right or change lanes, check your blind spot. This is the area that’s outside of your peripheral vision and your blind spot is a pretty large area where cars and bikes can lure undetected until it is too late. So whenever you are changing lanes or turning right, make sure you check your blind spot properly to avoid crashes.
Also, never drive in other driver’s blind spot. Not everyone is careful enough to practice defensive driving while on the road, but you can always put the onus on yourself and stay clear. For example, if you are driving to the right of and somewhat behind another car, the driver perhaps cannot see you. In such situations
5. Your New Car is Your Friend
Enjoy your new car – it will be your buddy for a long time and you’ll have many adventures together and everyone remembers the their first car. As a new driver, you probably lack the experience but you can always be diligent to avoid accidents and unfavourable situations while behind the wheel. You’ll obviously want to keep your car in good shape for a long time, so following these tips mentioned above will help you save your life, your car and your money. Also, remain calm in frustrating situations as it is better to accept small delays than jeopardizing your life and those of others on the road with reckless driving.
Author Bio: Rachel Oliver is a thought leader in the field of Law. She is keen on gathering information and sharing her opinion on personal injury law, employment law and likes.
New drivers will copy their parents habits. But good automobile owners don’t only drive safely, they practice regular maintenance and repair and are courteous on the road. Lead by example and cultivate good car ownership and driver habits in your teen driver with these simple, yet important lessons that will make you a safer driver as well.
1. Be a Courteous Driver
Know the laws and obey them. Always wear your safety belt. Demonstrate complete stops at all stop signs. Explain right-on-red if it is allowed in your state, and always use your turn signals, drive with headlights on and obey the speed limit. Follow other cars at a safe distance and never yell at other drivers.
2. Minimize Distractions
Keep distractions to a minimum while behind the wheel. This means cell phones, food, and even conversations with passengers should be kept in check. Don’t do your hair, makeup, or fuss with the radio or music device while you drive. Consider a hands-free digital device, or have your passenger be the one to change the music. Also, you should manage your time well enough and get your makeup done before you’re on the road.
Take time to show your teen how he or she can maintain the car. This is a valuable skill as it can save money and keep your new driver safe. Make sure he or she knows how to change a tire, change oil, check coolant, replace spark plugs and check for tire wear. For tire wear, all you need is a penny. Insert the coin in some of the tread grooves. If part of Lincoln’s head is covered, you have more than 2/32” tread depth; if the top of the Lincoln Memorial is covered, you have more than 6/32” tread depth remaining. If tires wear thin they can develop small leaks that turn into flats. If new tires are needed, consider a brand like General Tires. The company improves the ride, comfort and safety of its tires with each generation.
4. Passenger Responsibility
Be a responsible passenger. Passengers can have a positive or negative effect on a driver. When you let your teen practice behind the wheel don’t criticize or make comments that might discourage or distract them. Likewise, when they are passengers, be vocal about what distracts you as a driver. Later, have a frank conversation with them about how to speak up if they have a passenger who distracts them.
5. Prep, Checks, Responsibilities
Driving is a skill, but it also takes preparation. That’s why it’s never all right to get behind the wheel while drowsy. Simple checks, like blind spot checks before you change lanes, can slip your mind. You’re reflexes are also significantly slowed when tired. Make sure your teen knows driving is a responsibility and privilege. Sit down with him or her and have a talk about substances and the dangers of the road. While this is a difficult subject for some, you’re responsible for impressing on your son or daughter how dangerous the road is and how driving under the influence compounds these dangers, not only to themselves, but to other drivers as well.
Teens are granted new freedoms when they earn their driver’s license, but with it come a plethora of responsibilities. Put limits on their car use until they have demonstrated they are mature enough for more freedoms.
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“Using a Maintenance Checklist to Keep Your Car Safe: 6 Items to Check”
And make sure to watch the video at the end featuring resqme on the “Today Show.”
“Using a Maintenance Checklist to Keep Your Car Safe: 6 Items to Check”
Eighty-four percent of vehicles on the road need parts or servicing, according to a 2014 Car Care Council survey. Performing routine maintenance checks on your car is the best way to avoid these issues and make sure you and your family stay safe on the road. Here is a checklist of some of the most important maintenance items you should maintain to keep your car safe.
Maintaining your car’s braking system is the most vital part of keeping your vehicle safe, says Autos.com, which provides a comprehensive safety maintenance checklist. Bad brakes can cause you to slide into a car in front of you, into an intersection or off the road. You can do a simple check of your brakes by pumping them several times with the engine off until you feel the pedal become firm. You should be able to hold the pedal for 10 seconds without feeling movement. If you feel movement or softness, get your brakes checked.
Keeping your tires in good shape is vital to maintaining control of your vehicle on the road. Bad tires can cause you to skid or swerve, which can be especially dangerous in bad weather.
Begin your tire inspiration by checking the sidewalls for nicks or bulges. If your tires are worn, they need to be replaced. Finally, check the pressure with a gauge and inflate if necessary. Check your tires once a month or before you go on a long trip, and replace them at least once every 10 years.
3) Lights and Signals
Your lights and signals let other drivers know where you are and where you’re going. If these indicators are not working, another driver might not realize you’re about to turn, or they might miss you in the dark. A comprehensive check of your lights and signals should include your brake lights, front and rear blinkers, front and rear hazard flashers, rear reverse lights, side marker lights, and high and low beam headlights.
Maintaining proper fluid levels will help you avoid mechanical problems. It will also keep you from getting stranded, which can become a safety issue in bad weather or driving in the desert. A general inspection of your fluid levels should cover your brake fluid, engine oil, engine coolant, transmission fluid and power steering fluid.
5) Electrical and Safety Systems
Checking your instrument panel can give you an early warning of issues such as engine problems. Check to make sure no warning lights are on, such as lights to check your engine or airbags. Make sure all dash and accessory lights work properly. You should also check safety features, which include your seatbelts and horn. If you have a small child, check the car seat.
6) Engine Issues and Other Items
The checklist covers the most essential safety maintenance items, but there are a number of other issues that come up periodically. For instance, if your engine isn’t running properly, you might need to pop the hood to give it a look. Items you can glance at include your radiator, belts, hoses and spark plug wires, among others. Occasionally, engine valves may need maintenance. Most valves use nitrile-based seals. These can become brittle from long-term overheating, causing problems such as low lubrication or flooding. Eric the Car Guy demonstrates how you can do a compression test to check the condition of your valves. It’s a good way to get a baseline of the mechanical health of your engine.
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After reading these statistics on distracted driving, we hope you’ll think twice and use extra caution when eating, talking, texting or even using GPS while driving.
Distracted driving is gaining attention as a serious issue and combine it with the epidemic of selfies behind the wheel and you have a potentially lethal combination. When you look at the statistics surrounding road traffic accidents and the fact that taking a selfie is considered to be more dangerous than drunk-driving, it soon becomes painfully clear that something needs to be done to address this problem.
The dangerous act of taking a selfie
There is a valid argument to suggest that taking a selfie whilst behind the wheel of your car is actually a more dangerous activity than driving your car whilst drunk, which is worrying as that is a pretty irresponsible act in its own right.
The problem of taking selfies whilst driving is not necessarily confined to younger drivers, but according to the Institute of Advanced Motorists, close to 20% of drivers aged under 35 years of age admitted to the act when questioned in a survey, compared to 9% overall. Whichever way you look at it, these figures can be considered alarmingly high.
Testing driver’s reactions
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA) have provided a driver distraction fact sheet which highlights the inherent dangers of distracted driving due to the use of mobile phones in vehicles. In simple terms, a driver is distracted when they are trying to pay attention to a secondary activity rather than concentrating solely on ensuring they are driving their vehicle safely.
Just as simple to understand is the fact that despite our conviction to the contrary, most of us are not actually hardwired to safely multi-task and this is even more the case when the extra activity is considered time consuming or slightly complex. The extra demands placed on our attention such as the act of taking a selfie while driving, leads us to become less observant and make worse driving decisions, so our reactions are diminished. Simulator tests consistently back up this observation and show that our reactions are slower when we are driving distracted, therefore increasing our chances of being involved in an accident.
Selfies are just the beginning
Whatever your opinion of the act of taking a selfie in general, it seems that this form of distracted driving could be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to irresponsible behaviour behind the wheel.
A disturbingly high number of one in 12 motorists actually admitted to using Skype or FaceTime to video call someone while they were driving and an incredible seven percent of motorists surveyed by motoring organisations, admitted to watching TV behind the wheel.
With so many people seemingly willing to take selfies, send emails or even watch TV whilst trying to drive, it is not surprising that distracted driving incidents and accidents are currently on the increase, despite the clear dangers to the driver and fellow motorists.
By Danielle Estrella – Danielle Estrella works as a commercial driving instructor and always likes to take the chance to discuss hot topics like distracted driving with an online audience. She is a regular writer for a number of motoring-inspired websites.
Driving is a necessary activity, and the lifeline of a whole gamut of human activities. With the number of vehicle owners rising, as well as the number of accidents, it is essential to have responsible and efficient drivers on the road who ensure safety and risk- free roads for their selves and others. Excellent hand eye coordination, good judgment, sharp dimensional understanding, love for your vehicle and a genuine sensitivity towards others on the road are key attributes of a responsible and confident driver. But remember, driving is a skill that can constantly be bettered. So whether you are a new driver, or have a few decades behind the wheel, the following nine tips will be helpful to you.
1) Keep Your Vehicle in Good Condition
Equipment failure is a major cause of road accidents. However, the car is not to be blamed. It is human error that the car was not checked properly. It is absolutely a must to get your car periodically checked, and ensure that all parts are in good condition. Keeping a vehicle in an impeccable condition is the foremost duty of a good driver. Vehicle engine, brakes, seat belts, headlights, tires, steering wheel, fog lights, and wipers should all be functioning properly.
Fragile and imperfectly fitting seat belts are a huge safety hazard. Seat belts diminish the impact of the collision on passengers and prevent thrusting out of the dashboard and windshield when there is a really heavy crash at high speeds. Seat belts have been known to save lives. Keeping your vehicle seat-belts in good conditions may prevent many unforeseen injuries. A responsible driver always wears his seat belt, and ensures that the other passengers are wearing them correctly as well before beginning to drive.
2) Avoid Speeding and Overtaking
Sure you may like speed, but speeding beyond the given limits and constant overtaking is the mark of a callous and careless driver. Thrill does not come before life. It has been established that speeding leads to maximum accidents. The greater the speed, the longer time and distance it takes to brake. The vehicle is also less under the driver’s control when the speeds are very high. On wet roads, the risk is double when you are speeding.
A responsible and confident driver always follows speed limits, and makes sure their speedometer is functioning properly. Being a confident driver is different than being overly confident and obsessively overtaking every vehicle on the road can result in a reckless driving charge.
3) Driving Under the Influence
Consumption of alcohol or drugs create changes in our body that basically make us unfit to drive. It slows or accelerates reactions to driving obstacles. At the same time, alcohol affects coordination and the overall control over the vehicle. Sometimes you also tend to fall asleep behind the wheel. It’s a well-known fact – you cannot drive properly when you are intoxicated.
Driving under the influence of drugs is just as dangerous. It is extremely risky for you (and others on the road) to drive in a drug induced state, and not to mention illegal. And if you thought we were just talking about the banned drugs, think again. Cough syrups, analgesics, and over-the-counter sedatives can be just as dangerous, causing drowsiness, vision problems and the like.
4) Be Cautious While Changing Lanes
Check your blind spots before changing lanes. It is easy to miss motorbikes and cyclists as they are not prominently seen. Also keep a lookout for emergency vehicles in general, and more so while changing lanes. They may operate without sirens or lights during the day but will be just as fast. Similar to overtaking a vehicle, don’t change lanes recklessly or unnecessarily.
5) Follow the Two-Second-Gap-Rule
A safe separation distance that takes a minimum of two seconds to meet must be established between you and the vehicle in front. Increase this gap in hazardous weather conditions. This is important to establish as this will prevent you from getting too close to the vehicle and simultaneously gives you more time and space to react in case something goes wrong.
6) Minimize Distractions
Many falsely believe that once you learn how to drive, you do not really need to concentrate on the task anymore. You can drive and call, text, read, smoke, and even type, right? Wrong. While you are indulging in all these activities, only half or probably even less of your attention is on driving. Driving requires unparalleled concentration at all times. You never know which vehicle suddenly turns or stops, where the road gets slippery or, the light gets dimmer, or a cyclist comes in from nowhere. When you’re in a state of semi concentration you might even press the accelerator instead of the brake.
All of these can be hugely dangerous. A responsible driver does not indulge in any distractions on the road. However, if you have unintentionally been doing the above, take a good reality check. The text message can wait, the food can wait; life lost is never retrieved. So minimize the distractions and pay attention to the roads and vehicles when you are driving.
7) Think of Others on the Roads
With your airbags, and the most modern safety systems in your car, you may be less vulnerable in case of an accident. But what about those who aren’t as well equipped to deal with them? Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists are the most vulnerable on the roads. You have to take care of their safety as well when you are driving, especially at the roundabouts, and crossings.
8) Traffic Rules are for Your Security – Follow Them
Never trespass on footpaths or past closed-road crossings. Remember that traffic laws and road rules have been designed for a purpose. Many people have gotten into life-threatening situations because they drove their car past a closed-road warning sign. Keep in mind that during floods or road work, authorities will close road passings for good reason. You don’t want to subject yourself and those in your vehicle to mud slides or flood zones. If the sign says “Keep Out,” there will often be a detour route close by.
9) Take Notice of Directions and Read Maps Prior to Journey
While I swear by a GPS and its utility myself, I have realized that it does take my attention off the road sometimes. The best option is to take a good look at the map of where you need to go – before you even start your vehicle. If you are traveling very far, keep a tab on the GPS periodically. For detailed check ups, and direction, pull over to a safe place and take a good look.
How do you rate as a responsible and confident driver?
Patience, alertness, tactful maneuvering, and an overall sensitivity towards others on the road make a confident and responsible driver. However, while we do hope that drivers everywhere become more cautious, and aware of their driving rules and responsibilities, there is no denying that there is no dearth of reckless drivers either. If you or your loved one suffers or gets injured in a road accident in the Indiana area, take care of them and contact Indianapolis family law and personal injury lawyer.