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Northampton, MA 01060


26Jul. 2013

Driving Tips For Teens

I have my driver’s license – my ticket to independence! That is probably what you are thinking. But the price is steep. Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death for 16 to 19 year olds.

You’ve got a great future ahead of you. By adhering to the following principles you can become a “street smart” driver and live to enjoy it.

1. Always Wear Your Seat Belt. Get into the habit early and stick with it. Use your seat belt whenever you drive or ride. The slogan
seat belts save lives is true!

2. Get as Much Supervised Practice Driving as Possible. It is not always cool to be with your parents but the extra time and driving
experience will pay off. Make a firm schedule for your practice time and ask your parents to stick with it.

3. Encourage Your Parents to Assist You in Learning to Drive in Poor Conditions. If it is raining, snowing, foggy or bad weather in
general don’t let that stop you from your supervised training schedule. Once you begin to feel confident driving on dry pavement it is
important to get additional supervised practice time in poor weather, even if it is only driving around a vacant parking lot in the snow.

4. Get Comfortable Before You Go. Make sure that your mirrors are positioned properly and that your seat and steering wheel are
adjusted correctly. Adjust climate control settings and radio before you start, not as you are driving. Make sure you have plenty of gas to
get where you are going. Getting stranded in the middle of nowhere is no fun.

5. Be Focused and Avoid Distractions. Multi-tasking at home or school may be fine but not on the road. Cell phones are for
emergencies only! Let your calls go to voice mail and return them later when your car is safely parked. NO texting. Don’t blast the radio;
you might miss a siren or horn that could warn you of possible trouble. Two hands on the wheel are safer than one. Avoid eating, drinking,
applying makeup or retrieving things from backpacks while you are driving.

6. Develop the Right Attitude About Driving. Don’t drive like you own the road, drive like you own the car. Remember you are
controlling over 3,000 pounds of fast-moving metal. You owe it to yourself, your passengers and other drivers to drive responsibly.

7. Drinking & Driving Do Not Mix. Driving under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other illegal drugs can cost you your license –
and maybe even your life. Don’t ride as a passenger with anyone who has been drinking. Talk to your parents about agreeing to a no
questions asked policy, if you do not feel safe with your ride or behind the wheel you can call for a ride home.

8. Keep It Slow and Safe. Slow down in bad weather or poor driving conditions. Don’t speed. It will not get you to your destination
any faster and increases your chances of getting into an accident as well as increasing the severity of the crash. Stay away from fast
moving and high volume traffic such as highway and inner city driving until you are confident and comfortable with normal street driving.
Don’t push it; go at your own pace. If you are caught speeding in Massachusetts, you will lose your license for 90 days and it will cost you
$500 to get it back.

9. Limit Your Night Driving. Your risk of a fatal crash is three times higher at night then during the day. It is better to avoid driving
after dark until you are comfortable driving during the day. Don’t drive at night if you are over tired or fatigued. Falling asleep at the wheel is
a real danger to you and to others!

10. Limit Your Passengers. Friends can be a major distraction, even if they don’t mean to. Know the Junior Operators Law in
regards to having friends in your car, when it is legal and when it is not. (http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2006/Chapter428)
Never take more passengers than you have seat belts for!!

11. Drive a Safe Vehicle. If you are looking to purchase a vehicle, look for one with a high safety rating and good passenger
protection (www.iihs.org). Keep your vehicle well maintained. Working headlights, effective
windshield wipers, correct tire pressure and good quality tires can make all of the difference between driving safely and being in an accident!

Always remember driving is a privilege, not a right!!


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