If you turned 16 over the summer, you probably just got your license and there is a very good chance you will be driving to school for the first time. It may sound exciting, but there are also a few things you should be aware of before you pack the car up with all of your friends and head out as the official driver of your crew.
Driving Drowsy – when you were being taken to school or catching a bus, it did not really matter that you were staying up late playing video games when mom and dad thought you were sleeping (well, at least not as far as driving is concerned!). Driving drowsy is just as dangerous as driving drunk, so make sure you get plenty of rest each night.
School Buses – now you are not on the school bus, but driving along side of it. Buses have special rules that apply to them and you had better know them all. Laws may vary with each state, so check the local DMV sites for exact restrictions. Also, remember to keep an eye out for kids in school bus zones. If you can, avoid pickup areas, use a different entrance and exit from your school away from where the buses arrive and depart.
Seat Belts – just two words here: Wear It!
Distractions – we have plenty of information here already regarding distracted driving. It can be anything from friends kidding around to trying to change the radio station. As the driver, your job is to keep your eyes on the road and everyone inside the car safe. You cannot do that if you are fiddling around with the radio, your cell phone, or clowning around with friends.
Weather – fall is a time for falling leaves and wet roads. Winter will see snow and ice on the roads. You need to be very careful when driving in these conditions. We have plenty of tips on here for all of these situations so brush up on your driving skills and take your time when faced with strange and dangerous road conditions.
Hide Your Valuables – leaving something in plain view is inviting a thief to break into your car. Be sure to stow things like a cell phone or iPod in the glove compartment before heading off to class. If there is nothing there to steal, a passerby will be less tempted to break the window and take your stuff.
Respect the Driver – there is a very good chance you will be taking turns with other friends to drive to school. If this is the case, respect them when they are driving just as you expect them to respect you and your car when you are driving. If you have friends that are carrying on distracting the driver, let them know it simply is not safe and the drive MUST pay attention to the road. There is plenty of time to mess around after the car is parked, but inside a moving vehicle is surely not the time to carry on.
*Photo Courtesy of CJC4454 via Creative Commons License