You just got your driver license, congratulations! Now, you have the freedom to go anywhere without asking your parents or friends for a lift. Independence and autonomy come with the ability to go from places to places by yourself, but it also comes with rules and responsibilities! Here are our top 5 tips for new drivers:
- Don’t drive impaired
The most important rule. The one that could change your life forever. NEVER drive if you have consumed alcohol or drugs, no matter what kind of substance it is. Don’t give up to peer pressure that tells you: “it is not a long drive” or that “it was only a few drinks” and recognize the signs and environment that may lead up to such poor judgement. Think about the terrible consequences and practice the zero tolerance/zero drink approach when it comes to driving. Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 50 minutes (1).
- Check your speed
As a new driver, it is tempting to hit the gas to experience the road fever. Put your Formula 1 driver career aspirations aside and drive responsibly. Respect the road signs and speed limitation and you will find yourself at your destination safe and sound. Also, it is better to arrive in one piece 5 minutes later than not to arrive at all.
- Don’t take on too many passengers
Cars are designed to take on a certain number of passengers. Here again, resist peer pressure and only take on as many passengers as your car allows. Remember that in case of collision, the consequences could be dramatic, especially if there are not enough seat belts to ensure everyone’s safety. If something goes wrong, it is always the driver’s responsibility that will be engaged.
- Seat belt please
Buckle up, my friends! Seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017 (2). Buckling up is the single most effective thing you can do to protect yourself in a crash and should be your first reflex when entering your vehicle. It takes only a second and then you can drive with peace of mind. A terrifying 47 percent of passenger vehicle occupants killed in 2017 were not wearing seat belts (3) so always put safety first.
- No cell phones
Pay attention to the road! It can actually take you up to 27 seconds to regain full attention after using your phone or car’s voice-command system, according to a study done at the University of Utah.(4) Keep a few things in mind:
- Nearly 390,000 injuries occur each year from accidents caused by texting while driving.
- 1 out of every 4 car accidents in the United States is caused by texting and driving.
- Texting while driving is 6x more likely to cause an accident than driving drunk.
So, this text can wait.