You learned teenage driving safety at the driver’s ed classes
at school and practiced with your learner's permit. You passed the driving test.
You got your driver's license. And now it's Friday night. Do you think you’re a
safe driver? Consider the stats from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
and follow these tips for driving safely when you’re out with your friends.
Compared with other age groups, teens have the lowest rate
of seat belt use. In 2011, only 54 percent of high school students reported they
always wear seat belts when riding with someone else. Why is it so important? Wearing
a seat belt can reduce the risk of crash injuries by 50 percent.
Don’t ever believe it’s not cool to wear your seatbelt. Instead,
take initiative, and remind passengers around you to buckle up. You can even share
these statistics to prove a point.
Respect Your Inexperience
The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among
16-to-19-year-olds than among any other age group. Crash risk is particularly high during
the first months of licensure. Why? Teens are more likely than older drivers to
underestimate dangerous situations or not be able to recognize hazardous situations.
What can you do? Get more experience. Run errands. Go to
the store for milk or pick your little brother up from practice. If your family
is heading somewhere together, offer to drive.
Don’t Let Friends Distract
The presence of teen passengers increases the crash risk
of unsupervised teen drivers. This risk increases with the number of teen passengers.
Why? It’s easy to get lost in the fun of your new found freedom or even try to show
off a little bit. Simply focus on the road, even with friends in tow. Keep the discussion
light and keep the music at a level where you can hear outside traffic. Finally,
limit the number of friends you have in the car and don’t feel pressured to show
off. This puts their safety at risk, too.
Put the Phone Down
In 2011, at least 23 percent of auto collisions involved
cell phones. That’s 1.3 million crashes! Wait to view that latest text that just
came through. If you need to look at your phone, pull off to a safe place on the
side of the road. In many states, it’s illegal to text and drive, which means you
could get a ticket and make your parents think twice about letting you have the
car — or the phone!
Never Drink and Drive!
Drinking and driving kills. It could kill you, your passengers
and anyone you hit. In 2010, 22 percent of drivers aged 15 to 20 involved in fatal
motor vehicle crashes were drinking. Also, half of teen deaths from motor vehicle
crashes occurred between 3 p.m. and midnight and 55 percent occurred on Friday,
Saturday or Sunday.
Has your friend been drinking? Do not get in the car with
them — even if they tell you they are “OK.” Call a trusted adult to come pick you
up. Even if you are afraid you might get in trouble, it’s not worth putting yourself
Obey Household Rules
Follow any limits your parents have placed on you for driving.
Stay off the highway, have the car home on time and fill up the gas tank. You'll
earn their respect and more car time!
Learn about teenage driving safety and get tips for driving safely at BeingGirl.com.