Advice For New Drivers From Young Drivers

Teens three times more likely to be in fatal auto accidents.

There have been a number of crashes lately involving teenage drivers. Nebraska statistics indicate that teens are involved in three times more fatal auto accidents than other drivers.

The scene always changes and we never know if there is danger around the next curve. It can be tough for experienced drivers and tougher yet on new drivers.

“It takes a driver about five years to become a seasoned driver,” says Bill Mulherin with the Health and Safety Council.

“The newer the driver, the less seasoned they are and the more susceptible they are to not recognizing hazards in time and becoming involved in collisions and this is something that develops over time and develops with practice.”

“I got my license January 12th,” says Marian High School sophomore Jane Watsabaugh. She says it’s a big transition going from driving with her parents to driving alone.

“You’re nervous and you want to make sure you leave enough space in front of you and other drivers and you want to drive slow and not speed or anything.”

Fifteen-year-old Hannah Christensen won’t get her license until June. She’s driving a lot with her parents now and remembers her first time behind the wheel.

“I was terrified. I was really scared because my dad took me on this narrow road and it kind of went through woods. It was really scary.”

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She says the changing scene while driving can be a little intimidating. “There are a lot of different distractions when you are driving. I never thought of half of them.”

“The classes you can take are great, but nothing can beat experience.” Marian High senior Ariel Talacko has been driving for a year-and-a-half and noticed a big difference in her driving in that short time.

“I’m definitely more of a defensive driver. I make an observation about what I see from all directions, not just in front of me. I also check behind me and to the sides just so I can see what’s going on.”

Good advice for young drivers from young drivers.

So how can parents get a little peace of mind when their teen drivers take off in the family vehicle? Mulherin suggests a contract between parents and their teen drivers that helps monitor and reward good driving skills.

The best thing parents can do to properly teach a young driver is to set the tone themselves.

“Most of the time they slide into the same errors that their parents have because that’s who they’re modeling, so parents, if you want your kids to drive safer than you, you need to model that behavior when you are in the car with them,” says Mulherin.


7 Suggestions for Safer Winter Driving

Bad weather can seriously affect the roads we drive on. No matter what type of vehicle you drive, when the roads are covered in snow, slush, or ice, a different style of driving is required than when there are normal driving conditions. Using common sense and being completely prepared for whatever may come your way is a great way to go about becoming a safe winter driver.

Here are seven suggestions to help develop your winter driving skills.

1. Leave Extra Room When Stopping – When stopping your vehicle on roads covered in snow or ice, and yes even slush, there is sometimes a safer method to use than what you would do under normal conditions. If your car is equipped with anti-lock brakes, press the pedal down firmly and hold it in place. If your car did not come with anti-lock brakes, gently pump the brake pedal to gradually slow your speed without sliding. In both cases, if you leave extra room between you and the vehicle ahead of you, your odds of avoiding a collision increase greatly.

2. Take Extra Care Driving Near Large Vehicles – Large vehicles like semi-trucks, delivery vans, and even snow plows are not as maneuverable in the snow as you may be. Avoid making sudden movements or cutting them off in traffic. With their extra weight it may take longer for them to stop unexpectedly.

3. Leave Your Headlights On – There will be times it feels unnecessary, but this step isn’t for you as much as it is for other drivers. Between snow, fog, or other conditions, many times are vision is impaired while driving in winter. Having your headlights on may mean the difference between oncoming traffic seeing you and not seeing you.

4. Stay Off Of Cruise Control – For normal driving conditions, cruise control is a great invention that has its uses. Those uses are not compatible with bad weather driving. With the cruise control feature on, your car could hit a patch of ice or slush and go out of control because the cruise control caused the accelorator to continue to be used.

5. Pay Attention To What Is Going On Farther Up The Road – One of the biggest errors in all of driving, but especially dangerous in winter driving, is to only pay attention to the other vehicles and road situation right where your car is at the moment. By concentrating on what is happening farther up the road you can be ready for an obstacle that needs to be avoided, a slow moving vehicle that is entering the roadway, a disabled vehicle that is protruding into the driving lane, or any number of other things that can affect your ability to drive safely.

6. Avoid Sudden Actions – When driving in bad weather conditions, avoid slamming on your brakes or making sudden sharp turns. These actions cause your tires to lose their traction and turn you over to the mercy of the ice and slush as your car slides out of control.

7. Slow Down For Congested Areas And Other Trouble Spots – Most collisions and traffic accidents occur where there are intersections, bridges, off ramps, and shaded areas. Recognizing that these conditions are ahead of you and slowing down before you get there can go a long way in keeping you safe during the winter driving season.

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Combining common sense with sensible winter driving techniques should get you through the bad weather driving season unscathed. The number one thing you can do to insure the safety of you, your passengers, other travelers, and your car is to be prepared for what is out there on the roadway before you actually get there. Safe winter driving skills can be learned and put into action quite easily, there is no reason you or anyone else cannot be a safer driver during bad weather.