1. Always wear your seat belt, and refuse to move the car until all your passengers have buckled up.
2. Slow Down and Give yourself enough time. Speeding is the number one cause of accidents among teen drivers. Remember, the faster you are driving, the longer it takes to stop. The faster you are driving when you hit something, the greater the impact and the greater the damage done. Rather than race around trying to “make up” time on the road, plan ahead and give yourself enough time to get where you’re going safely, without speeding.
3. Don’t follow to Close. It takes a significant distance to stop a car from 50 km/h. In fact it takes 14 meters to stop from that speed. Stay far enough back so that you can stop safely without striking the vehicle in front. That goes for the distance between you and the car in front at stop signs and lights.
4. Adjust your driving speed for weather conditions. If it’s snowing, raining or foggy, you may need to drive below the speed limit to be safe, or postpone your travels until the weather conditions get better.
5. Thumbs are for driving, not for texting. Anything that takes a driver’s attention from the road is a distraction, and distractions can be dangerous. At the top of the list of dangerous distractions are cell phones, whether they’re used for talking or texting. Put the cell phone away while driving. There’s no text message or phone call that can’t wait until you’re off the road. This includes eating and drinking while the car is in motion as well.
6. Adjust all accessories before you pull out into traffic. This includes the mirrors, seat, and stereo. Secure loose objects in the vehicle. If you had to make an unexpected stop you don’t want you or a passenger to get hit in the head with a hockey stick, backpack, etc.
7. Don’t drive if you are sleepy. You put the car, yourself and any passengers at risk.
8. Don’t drive at night until you have enough experience and confidence to deal with all the extra challenges that driving in the dark present.
9. Don’t back up – Roughly 25% of all accidents happen while moving in reverse. Drivers tend to take the easy approach to parking which is to drive into a parking spot. While it is easier to park this way it makes it more challenging to leave the same parking spot later. If at all possible try a park your car so that the first motion you make is in a forward direction.
10. Look out for you first…..Then look out for everyone else. When we drive we tend to forget that driving is a participation program that requires us to be engaged in the program. We tend to know and do watch out for ourselves but the responsibility goes beyond that. We need to watch out for those that don’t or won’t look out for themselves.