The road is not an entirely safe place for a young driver to be. According to MoDot, nearly 600 people have died in traffic accidents in Missouri in the last three years, and of those who had access to a safety belt, 78% were not buckled up. Additionally, young or novice drivers are overrepresented in traffic crashes – 10% of the licensed drivers are young people while 30% of young drivers are involved in traffic accidents.
Why are young people so at-risk on the road? Three factors come into play when it comes to young drivers – inexperience, risk-taking behavior or immaturity, and a greater risk exposure. Young people are new to driving and don’t have the understanding of the nuances and complexities that comes with operating a motor vehicle. They also might be pressured by their peers in the car to take risks on the road and might be distracted by music, other passengers, or their cell phones.
We at Madison Mutual Insurance Company have compiled 4 main tips for young drivers to stay safe on the roads. Read them below and stay safe! Please pass these along to youthful drivers in your family.
Obey the Speed Limit – This is a rule that goes without exception. You might feel “cool” driving fast and zipping in and out of traffic like your favorite actor or t.v. character, but it’s not cool when you cause a wreck and harm yourself or another driver on the road. Obey the posted speed limit; remember, it is the maximum speed that is allowed under normal conditions. Slow down when it’s raining, foggy, snowing, or icy, and keep at least twice the amount of normal stopping distance between you and the person in front of you. Always slow down and drive cautiously in heavy traffic, on curves, and especially in work zones.
Give Driving Your Full Attention – Taking your eyes off the road, even for only one second, can result in a crash, and potentially a fatal accident. Your focus when traveling should be the road and the road only. Program your radio stations or make your CD selections before you get on the road, never read or look at directions when you’re traveling, and plan your trip before you leave. You should also avoid putting on makeup, shaving, and eating when you’re driving. Most importantly, put the phone down and DO NOT TEXT while you’re on the road. Any message can wait at least long enough for you to pull over somewhere safe. No message is worth your life or the life of another!
Use the Lanes Properly – Make sure that you are in a legal passing zone before you pass another vehicle. Never pass on the right side of the road or on the shoulder of a roadway – it’s illegal and dangerous for you and other drivers. Remember to use your turn signals about 100 feet before making a turn, and don’t cross over into another lane of traffic. Finally, keep your vehicle in the center, and do not pass on hills, curves, or at intersections.
Never Mix Alcohol with Driving – Underage drinking is against the law to begin with, but you must NEVER attempt to drive home if you have alcohol, even if you think that you’re okay. Instead, ask a friend who hasn’t had any alcohol for a ride home. If no one has abstained from alcohol, call a parent, older sibling, or a cab to take you home, or stay at your friend’s home for the night. It is better to be cautious than to gamble with your life or the lives of others on the road. Additionally, if you see a friend of yours stumbling toward their car, take their keys from them and find them a safe way home. You could be saving his or her life!
It’s always best to be prepared because anything can happen. Make sure that the young driver in your life is adequately insured in case of an accident. Stop by our office or call us at 1-800-766-MMIC to look over your preexisting policy or begin a new one today!