Hey, you did it! You passed your driving test and are totally ready to hit the road! Slow down for a second, though. We here at Coachella Valley Volkswagen know this is an exciting time for you, but we’d like to give you a few tips on how to be a safe, responsible driver so you can impress your parents, stay out of trouble and, most importantly, keep your driving privileges. You don’t want to take the bus to school again, right?!
We’re not trying to be bossy, but we do want to emphasize the importance of taking this time to develop good driving habits. We’re pretty sure you’ve heard it over and over (and you’ll hear it over and over again!) but we’ll keep it short and sweet with the second and final piece in our teen driving series, we promise!
5 Tips For Teen Drivers
Obey the Speed Limit
We know there’s the temptation to get going fast – it’s fun! It seems like a simple and often silly rule, but it really is dangerous to break the speed limit. It’s set to keep you at a safe speed based on the road conditions, curves, potholes and other driving hazards. Speeding is one of the top reasons for teen accidents and, besides ruining your car, you could seriously harm yourself, your passengers or a pedestrian (and let’s not forget squirrels). When you speed, you have less time to react to an unexpected hazard. This can lead to some serious consequences, so it’s best to keep it slow and steady.
Remember, you’re not the only driver on the road. You may own your car, but you don’t own the road – so be good at sharing it with those around you. Once again, it seems like a simple rule. But we’re sure you’ve seen other drivers who are not aware – or don’t care – about the others around them, and what a mess it can cause. Be the good driver who uses their signals, looks twice and allows people to merge when the need arises. This will keep you out of trouble with the law, other drivers and, even more frightening for some, your parents.
Be Aware of the Road Conditions and the Condition of Your Vehicle
Make sure you check your fuel gauge and your tire pressure before heading out. You don’t want to run out of gas while on the road and you don’t want nearly-deflated or flat tires, which can make the vehicle hard to control and seriously decrease your gas mileage. If you’re heading out somewhere new, such as a rural area, make sure you’re looking out for animals that may leap across the road. Be careful on dirt roads, too. If you’re going to the city, look out for pedestrians and aggressive drivers who may disobey traffic signals at intersections.
Take Extra Care Around School Zones
Whether it’s your high school or an elementary school, drive with extra caution. Stop for any flashing lights on a school bus – it’s the law! If there’s a bus stopped, watch out for small children who may make an unexpected dash across the street. And if you’re heading to school, leave early so you don’t get frustrated by traffic or parking. Wait few extra minutes before leaving so you can avoid a traffic jam in the parking lot, too.
Stow Your Phone!
This is a serious one. We know the temptation to fire off ‘just one quick text’ can be pretty strong, especially at a red light. But take it from us, don’t do it. Besides a very hefty fine in the state of California, you don’t need that distraction. Studies have concluded that texting while driving is as dangerous as driving while under the influence! It only takes a second or two with your eyes off the road to get involved in a serious accident or miss a green light because you weren’t paying attention. If your parents are keen on staying in contact with you, however, make sure your ride is equipped with Bluetooth hands-free technology (Hint, hint: Tell mom and dad to check out the 2015 Volkswagen Passat).
We here at Coachella Valley Volkswagen hope you take our tips to heart while heading out not just today, but every day you’re behind the wheel. We’re proud of what you’ve accomplished, and would like to see you out on the road for many years to come!