6 Common Mistakes New Teen Drivers Make

Getting your driver’s license is a huge milestone. Once you have the power to get behind the wheel by yourself, you’ll experience a whole new level of freedom. But with this freedom comes responsibility. As a new driver, it’s important to stay alert and avoid being over-confident. Before you hop behind the wheel, take a look at this round-up of the top six mistakes teen drivers make and tips to help you avoid them.

1. Speeding

New drivers often find it difficult to gauge their speed, which is one reason why driving too fast is one of the most common teen driver mistakes. Not only can speeding cause you to get pulled over and get a ticket, but it also increases your chances of getting into an accident. The faster you’re driving, the longer it takes you to stop, and the harder it is to avoid collisions.

Also keep in mind that the speed limit is the maximum, not the minimum speed you should drive. When traffic is heavy or weather conditions are bad, you may need to drive significantly below the speed limit to remain safe.

2. Distracted Driving

Talking on your phone and texting while driving are two very dangerous practices, but they’re not the only form of distracted driving. You can also easily be distracted while fiddling with the radio or your GPS system, eating or drinking, fixing your makeup, or talking with friends. Every time you get behind the wheel, make sure you silence your phone, remove distractions, and put 100% of your attention on the road.

3. Having Too Many Passengers

You might love the idea of loading all of your friends into the car and heading out, but this can also be a dangerous mistake. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teen drivers are 2.5 to 3 times more likely to engage in risky behaviors when driving with teen passengers. Depending on where you live, it might also be illegal. Some states have licensing restrictions that limit the number of passengers teen drivers are allowed to have in their vehicles. 

4. Following Too Closely

No matter how experienced a driver may be, it’s always important to maintain a safe following distance. Whenever possible, try to follow the three-second rule, ensuring that you are at least three seconds behind the vehicle in front of you. This will help you avoid a rear-end collision if the vehicle ahead needs to stop abruptly.

5. Failing to Wear a Seatbelt

While most people know that seatbelts save lives, teen drivers have the lowest rate of seatbelt use. Sadly, this can have dire consequences. In 2019, almost half of drivers and passengers between the ages of 16 and 19 who died in car crashes were not wearing their seat belts. Don’t make this mistake. Buckle up every single time you drive and don’t move your vehicle until all passengers are buckled up too.

6. Unsafe Lane Changes

Safely changing lanes and merging can be challenging for new drivers, especially when traffic is dense or you’re traveling at high speeds. When it’s time to change lanes, don’t forget to use your mirrors, check your blind spots, and use your turn signal. 

Keep Practicing Your Driving Skills

Learning the rules of the road and practicing defensive driving skills will help you stay safe behind the wheel. If you’re ready to get started, check out our easy and fun online Driver’s Ed courses. The information you’ll learn will help set you up for success as a new driver and well into the future.

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