Back-to-school driving tips for teens

Back-to-school driving tips for teens

Be sure to share these back-to-school driving tips for teens who will be driving to campus for the first time. While students will begrudgingly gather at school bus stops, many teens will be driving themselves to school for the first time in fall of 2023.

Back-to-school driving tips for teens

To help inexperienced teens become confident safe drivers, Drive Smart Georgia offers the below back to school driving tips for Autumn 2023.

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.

If a school bus stops and flashes its signal lights on a road without a median, drivers must come to a complete stop as well. Wait until the bus starts moving or stops flashing its signal lights before proceeding. Always be cautious of students crossing the street after exiting the school bus.

Get in the zone – the school zone!

Most school zones in Georgia have a 25-mph speed limit. Speeding through a school zone when lights are flashing can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor in Georgia. School zone speeding tickets are expensive, and they can add up to six points to a driving record.

New drivers must obey traffic laws and keep student safety in mind when driving through school zones.

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.

Avoid all distractions

Distracted driving drive smart georgia

While texting and talking on a cell phone are certainly driving distractions, there are many more to avoid. Eating and drinking, talking to passengers, and grooming all cause the driver to take their eyes off the road. Make sure your new teen driver knows about ALL driver distractions and the possible consequences.

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 mountains of homework and projects. 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 parents are concerned their 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.

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.

Parents should insist that their teen driver buckles up! Seat belts save lives. Period. Tell your teen driver to make sure any and all passengers are buckled in too.

Fall can present additional driving dangers

Many people prefer fall over the other three seasons. When people think of autumn, images of brilliantly colored foliage, county fairs, fireplaces, cozy sweaters, pumpkin spice, and cool evenings come to mind. However, on-the-road dangers come into play in the fall that can be a bit challenging, especially for new and inexperienced teen drivers.

Shorter daylight hours, slick fallen leaves, foggy mornings, and even deer season pose various driving dangers in the fall. To help inexperienced teen drivers overcome these dangers, Drive Smart Georgia offers these additional tips for driving in the fall.

Wet leaves on the road cause slick conditions

The leaves are gorgeous in Autumn! However, they eventually fall to the ground. A storm can cause tons of leaves to drop on roadways, causing slicker road conditions than usual. Tires can lose traction on wet or even dry leaves, so inexperienced teen drivers need to know how to recover quickly if the car begins to slide.

Bambi is adorable, but deer are a danger in the fall

Even in populated areas, deer roam all year long. With that being said, hunting and mating seasons occur during the fall, meaning they’re more active and on the move. Deer are especially dangerous in the early evening hours when they’re more difficult to spot.

According to the Georgia Wildlife Division of the Dept. of Natural Resources, below are ways to help avoid potential auto collisions with a deer.

  • Deer are unpredictable. A deer calmly standing on the side of a road may bolt into or across the road rather than away from it when startled by a vehicle.
  • One deer usually means more. Take caution and slow down when a deer crosses. Deer generally travel in groups, so if one crosses, be prepared that others may follow.
  • Deer are most active at dawn and dusk, so drivers should stay alert and watch for deer during these low daylight times.
  • Minimize damage. If it is too late to avoid a collision, drivers are advised to slow down as much as possible to minimize damage. Resist the urge to swerve to avoid the deer because doing so may cause further damage, send drivers off the road, or cause a collision with another vehicle. If an accident occurs, alert the police as soon as possible.

Summary

Back-to-school driving tips for teen drivers:

  • Watch out for the big yellow bus and know when to stop.
  • Reduce speed to 25-mph when school zone lights are flashing.
  • Follow the 10-minute rule.
  • Avoid all distractions.
  • Get a good night’s sleep.
  • Wear a seat belt and make sure all passengers wear one too.

Fall driving tips for teen drivers:

  • Drive slowly when wet leaves cover the road and cause slick driving conditions
  • Stay alert and watch for deer on the road or the side of the road

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