Tips for the Young Driver

At School:

1) Get to school a few minutes early and wait a few minutes after school before leaving. This diminishes the chances of getting caught in the mad dash and inevitable traffic jam in the school’s parking lot. Placing several dozen young drivers in a small confined space, all having the same goal of getting out of the parking lot as quickly as possible can create a hazardous situation. Take your time, avoid the headache, and get home safe.

2) If possible, park in a space that allows you to pull straight out, instead of trying to back out of your space. Your vision will be much improved and you’ll take the guesswork out of knowing when to move.

3) When behind a school bus, be aware of their flashing red lights. When the lights begin to flash and the stop sign swings out from the passenger side of the bus, the bus becomes a stop sign. If you try to pass a bus while the red lights are flashing, you could receive a citation for running a stop sign with children in the area.

Around Town:

1) Try to avoid making left turns in front of multiple lanes of traffic if possible. If necessary, go up a block or two and make the turn at an intersection with a traffic light.

2) Remember the 2-second rule. If you’re wondering if you’re too close to the driver in front of you, find a stationary object on the side of the road. When the driver in front of you passes that object, count, “one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand.” If you haven’t yet passed that object by then, your speed should be fine. If you pass that object before the 2 seconds has been counted, back off your speed a little.

3) Don’t pull out in front of a driver or do anything to make them slam on their brakes. When turning, activate your turn signal with plenty of time to make that turn. And when braking, brake gradually and smoothly to allow the driver behind you time to adjust their speed with yours.

In Inclement Weather:

1) Make sure you have anti-freeze in your car and your windshield wipers are working. Depending on the season, rain or snow storms can rise quickly and if your wipers are not working properly, you may reduce your visibility, making you a danger to yourself and to other drivers.

2) With so many lakes and rivers in Minnesota, it’s no surprise that bridges and overpasses freeze over before the roads. Remember to reduce your speed when you reach these areas and don’t make quick movements.

3) When first starting out on your trip, test your brakes. Brake hard and see how long it takes to stop. That way you can be aware of the road conditions while out on the road.

General Tips:

1) Always wear your seatbelt. Click here to check your state’s regulations about seatbelt usage.

2) Adjust your mirrors to maximize the area you can see. And once on the road, remember to check your blind spots and make sure you’re clear before changing lanes.

3) Minimize your distractions. It’s  not smart to fool with the radio, rolling down the windows, and eating a cheeseburger with 3 of your friends in the car. Minimizing the distractions inside your car will allow you to better focus on what’s outside the car.

In conclusion, driving a car is unlike anything a young driver has ever done before. It presents a whole new set of advantages and challenges. But in the end, one rule still applies  – treat others the way you’d want to be treated. Don’t tailgate, use your turn signal, don’t brake without reason, and obey the speed limit. If these simple rules can be applied, you’ll soon grow from a young inexperienced driver, to a mature experienced one in no time.

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