School is almost out! And with that, teens are taking advantage of the break from studies to take their Drug and Alcohol course and permit exam. It is a great time to get started on driving practice. There’s nothing wrong with taking advantage of the extra time off and summer sunshine to practice new driving skills. However, summer isn’t quite as carefree as it seems. There are more fatal accidents during the 100 days between Memorial Day and Labor Day than any other time of the year. All drivers, especially new drivers, should take extra care to drive defensively this summer.
If you are a parent, consider setting important driving guidelines for your teens. To set expectations, you and your teen can sign a parent/teen agreement to lay out any consequences for violating rules. This sample agreement and other helpful parent resources are available on our website.
If your teen is planning to practice behind the wheel this summer, help them to focus on basic driving techniques and good driving habits:
- Buckle up for safety.
- Practice driving in different weather conditions, and times of day: sunny and rainy driving conditions as well as some practice driving after dark. For more tips on driving in wet weather, check out our blog post Spring Has Sprung – Drive Safe in those April Showers.
- Hazard recognition is important. Keep your eyes on the road and practice scanning ahead to prepare for upcoming hazards such as animals crossing the road, potholes, construction zones and more.
And remember, teens often look to their parents or guardians for examples and will pick up on any of your own bad driving habits. Set a good example by turning off or silencing the ringer on your phone, keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel, and maintaining a safe speed and following distance. Practice makes perfect!
Whether used to drive to school, transport friends, or commute to soccer practice or work, we all use our cars for more than just driving. With such busy lives, it’s easy to let the mess start to pile up. Does your car look like a disaster zone? Give yourself and your car a fresh start by clearing out the clutter. Next time you have fifteen minutes to spare, try these helpful tips to keeping everything in its place and ensure a safer drive.
- Clean up the clutter. Toss any trash, scraps of paper, empty soda bottles, etc. Make sure to remove any trash or clutter from under the seats of the car – these items could roll forward and get trapped under the accelerator or brake while you are driving and become a serious hazard. After clearing out the rubbish, give your car a thorough vacuuming for a clean finish. The less mess you have around you, the less chance you will be distracted while driving.
- Get organized. Make sure to keep your car owner’s manual and any other important documents stored in your glove compartment or other safe place. Designate a place for everything in your car by utilizing tools like a visor organizer and the storage compartments in your center console.
- Address all of that junk in the trunk. Like the old adage, “out of sight out of mind” it’s easy to toss your stuff in the trunk and forget about it. Go through your trunk and take out anything that you don’t need for daily use or as a part of an emergency kit. As an added bonus, you could save at the gas pump by dropping the extra weight in your trunk. An extra 100 pounds can reduce a typical car’s fuel economy by up to 2% (FTC).
Now that you’ve cleaned out your car, keep it up! Make sure to stay on top of clutter by cleaning up once a day or once a week. And remember, it’s not just the inside of your car that must be kept clean, regular car washes are equally important. Always ensure your exterior lights and mirrors are free from mud, snow, and other things that can block your view or make it harder to be seen at night.
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