So you got yourself a driver’s license, huh? That’s awesome – and it probably makes you feel like you’re the most awesome kid in school, too (hint: you’re probably not the only one with a license, though, right?). All these good vibes, however, are not a good enough reason to throw caution to the wind. Driving can be a lot of fun, and it should be, but the truth is that it also comports a hefty dose of risk. That’s where defensive driving comes in. It’s a skill that’s never too early to acquire, no matter when you got your license. And, in fact, the best way to do it is right from the get-go, because you’ll thus be able to perfect it in time and help keep more people safe out on the road.
An online defensive driving course can teach you just about everything you need to know, in terms of theory – the rest will be up to you and the way you put this newfound knowledge to good use behind the wheel. The fact of the matter is that a car weighs two tons, on average, which makes it a killing machine, when used improperly. Another important fact is that not all drivers out there are as skilled or cautious as they should be; this is why, before you start your official online training in defensive driving, you should also take a gander at the five essential tips for teen drivers below.
Tip #1: Be quick on your feet
Don’t take this literally, or you might get an image of the Flintstones in your head – and that’s not quite what we had in mind.
This tip has more to do with alertness than anything else. If you’re well rested, focused, and certainly not under the influence,you’ll be better prepared to ward off dangers and react to risks, which might otherwise lead to issues. Obviously, drinking or using recreational drugs is out of the question when you know you’re going to be driving, but prescription medication is another thing you should be careful with. Always check the prospect of any drug you might take before getting in your car, since some drugs can cause you to feel drowsy – which is just as bad as being sleepy or under the influence.
Tip #2: Keep your options on the road open
No matter what traffic situation you might find yourself into, it’s always a good idea to find a position on the road, from which your car could safely get out, in case of an accident. This means maintaining a proper distance from the other drivers, but also avoiding the blank point of the cars around you. When driving, work out what would happen if the road suddenly became blocked, then plan for an escape route that you keep open at all times.
Tip #3: Focus is your friend
The art and science of driving relies paying attention to a whole lot of factors at the same time. You need to pay attention to the state the road is in, as well as to the weather. You have to make sure you’re properly positioned on the road, keep your speed within legal limits, respect all other driving laws, signals, and signs, take directions, make sure you’re keeping the other cars on the road at a safe distance, check your mirrors to be properly aligned, and so on. The list is limitless and could literally go on forever. This is why it’s best to focus on driving and driving alone, when you’re behind the wheel. Don’t eat, don’t drink, and most importantly, put that phone away. Teen drivers are, incidentally, the ones responsible of the highest number of texting-and-driving-caused accidents.
Tip #4: Stay safe, above all else
Sure, it might seem cool to drive a bit aggressively or act a little recklessly; but the truth is that, in the long run, the only thing you’re likely to accomplish is to put both yourself and others at unnecessary risk. So stay safe, first and foremost. Wear your seatbelt, keep your doors locked, and make sure there’s plenty of space between you and the other drivers. This is the kind of
behavior that will make you a stronger driver, not recklessness.
Tip #5: Mind your partners in traffic
As with anything in life, safe driving is not all about you – more often than not, it’s also about the other guy and how he behaves on the road. Take the following situation, for example: you’re out on the road and another car speeds past you in the fast lane. However, there’s a truck right ahead of it and the car doesn’t have enough space to pass it. So what do you think the driver of the speeding car is going to do? Back into your lane, of course. You need to keep a close eye on the behavior of the other drivers, since failing to pay attention in such a situation might lead you to inadvertently cause an accident.