Teen drivers are still learning the basics and getting comfortable with their new skills when they first take to the road. Add in a traffic mix including cars, motorcycles and large semi-trucks, and things can get more complicated. In fact, according to the IIHS, about 1 in 10 highway deaths occur in crashes involving a large truck. One of the most important lessons new drivers can learn is how to safely share the road with large vehicles.
Here are a few tips for teens:
- Consider size and speed. The larger and heavier the vehicle, the more time and space it needs to come to a complete stop. In fact, tractor trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds and could take over 450 feet to safely come to a complete rest. Keep this in mind when you’re changing lanes or merging in front of a large truck. Give those drivers the space to see you, and to stop or slow down. They can’t just slam on the brakes!
- What can be seen? Blind spots can contribute to collisions, and a semi-truck has much more significant blind spots than a small passenger vehicle. Always check blind spots before changing lanes, and always take care when you’re driving in a truck’s blind spots.
- Caution on turns. Following the same theme, when driving near larger vehicles and trucks, you must remember that they need more space to make turns. Have you ever been stopped behind a truck at a light and noticed a “wide right turns” sign on the bumper? These trucks need more space to safely maneuver around corners, so make sure to give them the time and distance to safely get around tight spots!
Florida teens can complete their Drug & Alcohol course and learner’s permit test with GDL Institute for even more tips and instruction on safe driving techniques. What other advice would you give to drivers about how to safely share the road?
From everyone at GDL Institute, we’re wishing happy holidays to all of our customers and friends! Please see the schedule below for special holiday hours. Regular e-mail and phone support will be available to assist you over the rest of the holiday period. Remember, the online Drug and Alcohol course and learner’s permit exam are still available 24/7 at the GDL Institute website!
Wishing a Happy Thanksgiving to all of our customers and friends this week! Please see below for our help desk hours around the holiday. The online Drug & Alcohol course and learner’s permit test are still available 24/7 at www.gdlinstitute.org.
Parents, teens, and teachers: October 16-22, 2016 is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and it offers a chance to to raise awareness of teen driver safety and encourage safe teen driver and passenger behavior. Motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death for U.S. teens 15 to 19 years old. Promoting safe driving habits during this time period can help spread awareness of this alarming statistic and make a difference in teen driving habits.
GDL Institute is supporting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)’s “5 to Drive” campaign during National Teen Driver Safety Week. The campaign aims to help parents talk to their teen drivers about the rules of the road. The campaign highlights the five necessary rules that teen drivers need to follow to stay safe behind the wheel. These rules address the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, texting, seat belts, speeding, and extra passengers.
The “5 to Drive” campaign addresses the five most dangerous and deadly behaviors for teen drivers. It is a great way to help parents prepare, and help protect teen drivers. The idea behind the campaign is to give parents the words to use when they talk with their teens about the rules of the road. Let’s get the conversation going!
The NHTSA’s “5 to Drive” rules for parents to share with their teens are:
- No Drinking and Driving – All teens are too young to legally buy or possess alcohol, but they are still at risk. Nationally in 2014, one out of five teen passenger vehicle drivers (15 to 19 years old) involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. Driving under the influence of any impairing substance could have deadly consequences.
- Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. Front Seat and Back. – Wearing a seat belt is one of the simplest ways to stay safe in a car. Yet, too many teens are not buckling up and neither are their passengers. In 2014, there were 763 passengers killed in passenger vehicles driven by teen drivers, and 59% of those passengers who died were NOT buckled up at the time of the fatal crash.
- Eyes on the Road, Hands on the Wheel. All the Time. – Distractions while driving can be deadly. In 2014, among teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in fatal crashes, 10% were reported as distracted at the time of the crash. And remember, distracted driving isn’t limited to cell phone use. Other passengers, the radio and climate controls, and eating or drinking while driving, are all examples of dangerous distractions for teen drivers.
- Stop Speeding Before It Stops You – In 2014, almost one-third (30%) of teen passenger vehicle drivers involved in a fatal crash were speeding at the time of the crash. Staying within the speed limit helps keep everyone safe.
- No More Than One Passenger at a Time. – The risk of a fatal crash goes up with each additional passenger. According to data analyzed by NHTSA, teen drivers were two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in one or more potentially risky behaviors when driving with one teenage peer compared to when driving alone. And the likelihood of teen drivers engaging in risky behaviors triples when traveling with multiple passengers.
Reach out to the teen driver in your life and remind them that while driving is a privilege, and while driving independence can great, it also comes with great responsibility. For more information about National Teen Driver Safety Week and the “5 to Drive” campaign, please visit www.safercar.gov/parents.