6 back-to-school driving tips for teen drivers
Most high schools in Atlanta rang their bells this week and welcomed back students after the long, lazy summer break. While most students are begrudgingly gathering at school bus stops, many new teen drivers are driving to school for the first time. This newfound independence is exciting, but it can also be a bit worrisome for concerned parents. If your teenager is driving to school this year, Drive Smart Georgia offers the following safety tips to keep your new driver safe on the road.
1. Wear a seat belt at all times.
Teens buckle up far less frequently than adults do. Despite efforts aimed at increasing belt use among teens, observed seat belt use among young adults (16 to 24 years old) is the lowest of any age group. Buckle up! It could save your life – especially when driving to school. Plus, make sure any and all passengers are buckled in too.
2. Avoid all distractions.
While texting and talking on a cell phone are certainly driving distractions, there are many more to avoid. Eating and drinking, talking to passengers, grooming, finding a radio station, using a navigation system, or watching a video all cause the driver to take eyes off the road. Make sure your new teen driver knows about ALL driver distractions and the possible consequences.
3. Get a good night’s sleep.
Teenagers are the most sleep-deprived group today. When they’re not cramming for an important test, they’re completing mounds of homework. Many are also involved in sports or clubs, meaning they’re busier than ever and often not getting enough sleep. When inexperienced, fatigued new drivers get behind the wheel, they may forget their newly acquired good driving habits. If you’re concerned that your child is burning the candle at both ends, be sure to talk to him or her about being safe on the road when getting from point A to B. If they’re overly tired, offer to be the driver. Drowsy driving causes more than 1,500 deaths per year.
4. Follow the 10-minute rule.
New teen drivers should get in the habit of always leaving ten minutes early. Running late for school causes teens to drive faster, tailgate, and weave through traffic. Encourage your teen to leave early to avoid dangerous driving decisions.
5. Watch out for the big yellow bus.
Make sure to talk to your new driver about school buses. Drivers should always yield to school buses when they are merging or turning. It’s also important to maintain a significant distance and be prepared to make unexpected stops. Parents will also need to follow these rules of the road.
6. Get in the zone – the school zone.
Keep in mind that drivers must slow done in all school and bus zones. If you see a school bus pull to a stop and flash its signals on a road without a median, make sure to come to a complete stop as well. Regardless of the side of the street you’re on, brake and watch for students crossing to their homes. Before you start driving again, wait until the bus starts moving or stops flashing its signals.
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