Getting a driver’s license is perhaps one of the pinnacle moments of a young person’s life. The reality is that a driver’s license represents freedom, but this also means increased risk. Young drivers are much more inexperienced on the roadways, and this can lead to devastating crashes. Here, our Albuquerque car accident attorneys want to discuss five important safety tips for all teen drivers on the roadway. We encourage parents and younger drivers to read these tips so you can take the steps necessary to remain safe on New Mexico roadways.
Get to Know Your Car (or Your Parent’s Car)
After you obtain your driver’s license, it is very tempting to just get behind the wheel, start the car, and take off. However, you need to understand the vehicle you are operating. You need to know the features of the vehicle, what every light on the dash means, and where all the controls and knobs are that you will need. The old adage that “practice makes perfect” is 100% correct when it comes to teenage drivers. You need time behind the wheel of the vehicle that you will operate.
We understand that a teenager’s life is busy and that connectivity is crucial. This includes connecting through text messages, social media, and phone calls. However, digital distractions are a leading cause of vehicle accidents across the country. This is particularly true for younger drivers who, let’s face it, only know a digital world. Drivers need to remove all distractions before they put the vehicle in drive and start moving.
Take it Slow
As a young driver, the freedom of being behind the wheel is exhilarating. In fact, when you have total control over the gas pedal, it can be attempting to drive too fast for conditions. Sometimes, speeding occurs because you are in a hurry. However, all too often, speeding happens because teenagers are showing off to their friends. Teenage drivers need to be cognizant of the speed limit, and they need to make sure that they maintain a safe distance from the vehicles in front of them.
Keep Friends Out
Friends are distractions. This is especially true when it comes to inexperienced teenage drivers. Even if a person is a wonderful driver when they are alone in the vehicle, adding friends to the equation is incredibly dangerous. In fact, many states around the country have provisional rules that do not allow individuals under the age of 18 to operate with passengers.
Be Careful After School and During Rush Hour
Data provided by the New Mexico government and the University of New Mexico indicates that more than 25% of all crashes involving teenage drivers occur from the hours of 3:00 PM through 5:00 PM. This conveniently lines up to the time that school ends and when rush hour traffic begins. Teenage drivers need to pay close attention to the surroundings when traffic begins to pick up.
Why This Matters?
Car accident data from NM shows that the rate of teen drivers involved in crashes reached its second-highest over a five-year period during the most recent reporting year. In this state, there are 130.5 teen drivers in crashes per 1,000 licensed teen drivers.