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Ten Top Tips for Teenage Drivers (and their parents)

SurvivetheDrive - Ten Top Tips for Teenage Drivers (and their parents) - Making Teen Drivers and New Drivers Safer or "What isn’t on the DMV Driver’s test"


The car is just a heavy piece of equipment moving over rubber rollers filled with air.

THE REST IS UP TO YOU. That piece of equipment will not save you from any mistakes that you make. Once a mistake is made it is irreversible, no matter what the outcome. You can't depend on luck and you can't play the game that you just lost again. The car at any speed can do far more damage than hitting your thumb with a hammer or touching a moving saw blade, inside and out of the car. What happened to that squirrel by the side of the road? You are made of the same stuff.

  1. You need to be on top of the job. Don't assume you are safe when you are driving. Car crashes take place in a moment's time, "all of a sudden". Not being ready or focused is not an excuse. You can only hope in an emerge-urgency you will have enough time and distance to fix the problem. The car can't fix anyone's mistakes. Time and distance go by at all speeds. If it's exciting, it's dangerous.

  2. Mistakes are not accidents. No matter how unintentional or inadvertent they might be. Cause and effect demonstrates that if the car is scratched or bent, somebody did something to it. Don't make the mistake.

  3. You are your decisions. At 60 mph, that is 90 feet per second, changing the station on the radio - maybe three or four seconds, you will have gone the length of a football field, with no one driving. You have been thinking about the station without truly knowing what is up ahead even with your eyes forward. For those moments, by your decision to change the station, you made that more important than driving the car. "Getting away with it" doesn't make it right, a car wreck only takes once. Cell phoning and texting? The same bad.

  4. Excuses and feeling sorry doesn't fix anything. If you ever have to say, "I didn't mean it," you have made a mistake. Even people that blame their crash on the snow or ice know water freezes and is slippery. The cop is correct giving them a ticket for too fast for conditions or failure to remain in the established lane. You have more to learn if you don't get it. Maybe your parents are right.

  5. What is inattentional blindness? This is "brain not focused." This is when you are not recognizing what is going on ahead because of lack of concentration - even with your eyes forward.

  6. Are your parents or your friend's parents a little difficult? Do you need that kind of grief? Try wrecking their car, or far worse the possibility of your injury or fatality could result in their and your permanent grief. Remember, unless you bought, paid all the expenses for it and it is registered in your name, the car is not yours. It is still your parent's car and they can take away the keys.

  7. What is a proximity to hazard? That is having a 12' wide road to drive a 6' wide car and only 100' to stop a 4,000 pound 60 mph projectile using only the tires to stop. A skid is trajectory, force against tires, the car isn't any smarter than a hockey puck. A 4 inch mistake is unacceptable. Ask that squirrel. In a Ferrari or KIA, a 4 inch wreck would be a huge mistake. On any public road, you are always close to something you can hit.

  8. Thirty-five miles an hour is "bloody fast." That is the speed that all those crash tests you see on TV are done. The "crash test dummies", don't break, bleed, hurt or get killed. How do you think you will do? The seat belt and air bag may not be enough restraint to keep your body back from what is the equivalent of a fall off a four-story building, at 35 miles per hour. You'd be traveling like a pumpkin dropped from the roof.

  9. There are only three ways to wreck a car? Run into what is in the way; go from where you should have (skid or off the road) or get the car way off balance (flip over). Someone else's mistake may contribute to your problems and the road may be slippery or narrow so that you need to adjust for those conditions. If they run into you, it's not your fault, but then, it is still your crash. It would be better not to.

  10. "Cloth straps and explosive devices?" Seat belts and the airbag are all that is holding you back from your impact at the same speed the car was going. They can be dangerous if not used correctly. It seems unlikely that you will ever need them, but you will probably want to be around and someday become as old as your grandparents. At seventeen years old that may seem a remote possibility, but time happens. Every second is gone forever.

This is the "mind set" that would help new drivers and their parents with a new vocabulary for communication on a subject that can be difficult. These few common understandings are not a guarantee but may serve as a behavioral model from which a non-crashing performance would result.

BobGreen - Survive the Drive

Bob Green - SurvivetheDrive


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