Whether you recently got your driver’s license or you’ve been driving for a short while, you’re still not there experience-wise. But, don’t worry – the more miles you get under your belt, the more confident and proficient you’ll become behind the wheel.
Unfortunately, along with that added confidence comes some risk-taking and dangerous driving habits. Your parents are worried enough as it is, not only about you and your well-being every time you pull out of the driveway but also about the high auto insurance rates they’re probably paying by having you on their policy. And, those rates can only go higher if you’re involved in a fender-bender.
Teens involved in 20% of all fatal crashes
With that in mind, you might want to use a little extra caution when you take the wheel – whether by yourself or when you have friends riding along with you. Here’s why; while teens only represent 7% of the licensed population, they’re involved in 20% of all fatal crashes, according to the AAA.
Those are sobering statistics to say the least, but you can do your part to not become a statistic by following a few safety rules. You can still have a good time even if you:
1. Keep Your Cell Phone Off
Countless studies have shown that using a cell phone – including when using it hands-free – while driving is pretty much the same as driving drunk. In New York State as in other states, you cannot use a cellphone or portable electronic device while you drive. If you’re pulled over, you can receive a traffic ticket, be subject to a fine and a surcharge and points being added to your DMV driving record.
2. Don’t text
More studies have been conducted to show that texting – on average – takes your eyes off the road almost 5 seconds. During this time, you can travel the full length of a football field before you realize a car has stopped in front of you or someone is crossing the street up ahead. Both can equal disaster.
3. Drive with your headlights on
Okay, this one won’t really do much to take your fun away. In fact, you won’t remember they’re on unless you forget to turn them off. If you plan on catching a movie or a bite with your friends, turn them off.
4. Obey the speed limit
Let’s put it this way – you’ve got your hands full with traffic, changing lights, and stop signs. The last thing you should be doing is speeding. As a novice you’re substantially increasing your chances of getting a ticket or having an accident – a serious one. So, keep it within the speed limit.
5. Minimize your distractions
Multi-tasking while driving isn’t a good idea for your parents – much less you. And, they’ve been driving a long time. Too much can happen when you’re distracted – none of it good. This includes using your phone for any purpose, eating, drinking, carrying on a conversation with passengers in the back seat, flipping through the radio dial or just trying to pick out a CD.
6. Have to practice defensive driving
Driving is serious stuff. There’s always so much going on around you, especially on the highway or in-town traffic. Don’t tailgate, maintain a safe speed, and signal whenever turning. Taking a defensive driving course may also save you or your parents some money on your car insurance.
7. Are forced to choose a safe car
Sure, you’d like a red sports car or sleek new ride. Who doesn’t? But, just like you probably had training wheels on your first bike, you may want to get as much experience behind the wheel before progressing to something shiny and fast.
Besides, your insurance company will charge you less for a mild-mannered vehicle rather than a car they assume you’ll possibly speed, drive recklessly or crash in.
Remember – this is all pretty much for your own good. Once you’ve cleared that 15 to 19 year old barrier, auto insurance companies will breathe a little easier. And, so will your parents.
If you’re shopping for teen car insurance, why not get a free online rate comparison and see how inexpensive New York auto insurance can be?