Even experienced drivers need a reminder every once in a while to really be aware of their surroundings while on the road. Emphasizing this necessity to your new teen driver is absolutely crucial. “Stay Alert, Stay Alive” isn’t a frequently used slogan for no reason—being aware saves lives. For today’s installment of the Teen Driving Tips and Facts Series, we’re taking a look at different things to pay attention to that happen around you while you’re on the road.
Being aware of the speed limit on the road that you’re on is an important aspect of learning to drive to which many people don’t give enough attention. Speed limits can change drastically when you move from different types of roadways; main roads may have a speed limit of 40mph, but drop instantly to 20mph if you enter a school zone. Similarly, when you’re on the highway, the speed limit can be as high as 65mph, but once you exit the highway you could be on a road that’s only 30mph. It’s important to be aware of the speed of traffic around you, and accelerate and decelerate as gradually as possible so that you integrate into your surroundings smoothly.
Drivers should always ensure that they’re able to see the road ahead of them at all times. When approaching an intersection, it’s important to continuously look right and left to monitor the traffic coming from both directions, or for any cars that may come to a sudden stop. In addition to being able to see ahead of you, it’s extremely important to master the ability to check your blind spot; you can’t stop in the middle of the road in order to look around you, so you need to be able to multitask to perform this maneuver. When backing up, make sure you get into the habit of turning your head all the way around to see behind and around your car. Also make periodically checking your rearview mirror habitual, because you always need to know what’s coming up from behind you.
Lastly, maintaining your lane is a difficult but important skill to develop. It’s important to always make sure that you’re as centered in your lane as possible so that you’re not too close to the cars in the lanes on either side of you. However, when you’re making a left turn, as you approach the turn you will want to drive slightly to the left to allow cars to pass you, and the same goes for driving slightly to the right when approaching a right turn. Teen driving fact: inability to maintain lanes is a top cause of teen crashes!
Share these tips with your new teen drivers to make sure that they know how important all of these different skills are!