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How Young Drivers Can Avoid Car Accidents

Numerous people and organizations worldwide are trying to determine how young drivers can avoid car accidents. This is because there is a high rate of young people being killed or seriously injured daily due to car crashes. Driving has become the biggest single cause of death for young people in the UK. In approximately 95% of the incidents, the accidents were due to driver error, such as speeding, intoxication, inexperience, and outright recklessness.

Of course, as a young driver, you may think older adults are just targeting your age group unfairly. You may say that older drivers are as likely, if not more likely, to be in an accident or to cause one as you are. In some cases, you would be absolutely correct. However, that still doesn’t change the fact that too many young people are dying or being seriously injured needlessly. Something still needs to be done to prevent these deaths and injuries.

Young drivers need to be part of the solution.

Although everyone is trying to solve this problem, the only real solution has to come from the young drivers themselves. The young drivers are the only ones who can be ultimately in control of their driving skills. The rate of accidents, deaths, and injuries will only be reduced when young drivers perceive themselves as being the most vulnerable drivers.

Until young people take on the responsibility of keeping themselves and other road users safe, these driving tragedies will continue occurring. Every driver on the road must become aware of how much more there is to driving than merely knowing the traffic laws and basically maintaining control of the vehicle.

There are steps you can take if you are a young driver or young passenger who is ready to lower the risks of driving. Both, as a driver or a passenger, you should:

Know what the most common causes of accidents are and consciously avoid these particular driving activities: loss of vehicle control, not using the road properly, excessively speeding for conditions, mixing certain after dark lifestyles with driving, needless risk taking/aggressive driving, driver impairment, driver distraction, rear-ends shunts, and peer pressure or showing off.

Know your own limits: Stick to familiar routes and avoid taking long trips until you have gained lots of confidence and driving experience. Build up your level of competence slowly and carefully. Use your own judgment of what you can safely do, not someone else’s opinion, unless the person is a professional driving instructor. Also stick to the type of vehicle you were trained in, preferably a lower performance car, for the first year or two of driving. If you are the passenger, then do your best not to push the driver beyond his or her own limits or ability.

Always obey all the rules of the road, especially safety rules, even if other people around you aren’t. Obey them even if no one else is around, and there’s no policeman around to enforce the law. The laws and rules have all been designed to keep everyone using the roads safer, including you and your passengers. Never attempt to overtake another vehicle when you cannot see clearly for a long distance ahead of you. Never attempt to overtake another vehicle while going around a bend. Do not exceed the speed that is posted or that is safest for the specific road conditions. Always allow plenty of extra time to get to your destination. If you do run late, don’t speed to make up the time. It’s better to arrive late rather than not at all. If you are the passenger, try to discourage the driver and other passengers from breaking the rules or behaving in an unsafe manner.

Remember that friends and other passengers can be very distracting while driving. Limit how many passengers ride with you, and hold the conversation down to a minimum while driving. Don’t show off for others and don’t give into peer pressure. Don’t let your passengers be your navigators until you gain a lot of driving experience, especially if they don’t hold driver licenses themselves. If you are the passenger, then do your best to keep from distracting the driver in anyway. Discourage the driver from giving into peer pressure from any other passengers.

Avoid all types of distractions, as much as is possible. Never answer your mobile phone while driving, and certainly don’t illegally use it to call or text someone. Keep the music volume low so you can hear the crucial sounds of the traffic conditions and the noises your vehicle may be making to warn you of a mechanical failure. Don’t eat, drink, or smoke while driving, and don’t let your passengers do so either. Smells and spills can cause accidents, as can greasy hands and taking your hands off the steering wheel. Keep your attention on the traffic and road conditions, not the billboards, your passengers, and other interesting sights outside your vehicle. If you are the passenger, help the driver to stay focused on driving.

Never drive while impaired by drugs, drink, tiredness, or ill-health. Don’t ride with anyone who is impaired. Don’t let your friends and relatives drive while impaired. If you have to, take away the keys, arrange for alternative transportation, are just stay where you are until you can safely drive.

Keep a safe distance between you and the other vehicles on the road. You never know when someone in front of you will stop or turn, and when your own brakes may fail. You may also be making the other driver more nervous, thus causing them to make possibly fatal mistakes.

Stay alert at all times. Be prepared for any circumstance that might arise, and drive defensively not aggressively. Just because you’re a good driver in a vehicle with no mechanical problems doesn’t mean everyone around you is too. Slow down when you come to junctions, or see a car on the side of the road. Avoid braking sharply, and be leery of road conditions, especially in bad weather. If you’re the passenger, try to stay alert to traffic and road conditions as well, and be prepared in case the driver does have an unavoidable collision.

Control your emotions while driving. Never use your vehicle as a toy or to vent your anger. Driving demands clear thinking, balanced emotions, mature behaviour, and quick reflexes. If you are the passenger, then do your best not to upset or anger the driver, and avoid arguing with other passengers.

Most importantly: Respect yourself, your passengers, and everyone else who uses the roads you choose to travel on. Remember that everyone, including young children crossing the street, have just as much right to use the road as you do. Also remember that driving is a privilege, not an inherent right. Consciously make an effort to remember that it is just as much your responsibility as it is everyone else’s to ensure that everyone arrives at their destinations safely.

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