The year was 2003, and a 16-year old named Billy took his driving exam, passed the test and drove to school a licensed driver. At noon, Billy thought it would be cool to invite 4 of his closest friends to hop in the car and drive to lunch. Not three hours after his test, and his first chance at having passengers, Billy pulled into an intersection without thoroughly assessing traffic and was sideswiped by a vehicle that never had a chance to slow down. One of those 4 friends was me. No one was hurt, but the car had irreparable damage and Billy had in his possession a costly ticket plus points taken off his license.
Bad Driving Habits
Driving in an overcrowded or chaotic car is one example that a teenager can avoid. Here are some other bad driving habits that many teenagers and new drivers have:
- Distractions – Mobile phones, iPods/iPads, looking at directions; these are all things that take eyes off the road – the most important place for them to be. Many drivers make these same mistakes; it isn’t just an adolescent problem. However, newer and/or younger drivers have less experience driving, so they need to pay special attention to what is going on IN the car. Distractions (for everyone) should be kept to an absolute minimum.
- Taking unnecessary risks – I was personally guilty of this. The typical adolescent doesn’t believe mortality is an option for them, so taking risks is often part of everything they do. Speeding, trying to out-race someone while entering the highway (not yielding), running stop signs, driving at night without lights, driving while drunk. Again, many people do this, but teenagers have an extra helping of “gotta do it.”
- Driving without a seat belt – Buckle up, it’s the law. And it saves lives!
- Following too closely – Reaction time to stop a moving vehicle takes several seconds. Many young drivers follow too closely and can’t get the vehicle stopped before collision happens.
- Reacting inappropriately – Over correcting, unnecessarily slamming on brakes, moving before looking – these are all mistakes the inexperienced makes.
- Driving while sleepy – Kids are very busy with school, after school activities, socializing, study sessions. It is often not until they get into the car that the eyelids start to droop.
Adolescents/New Drivers need to learn about these mistakes while learning to drive – and the typical teenager needs to be reminded every hour on the hour until they are 25.