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Driving lessons don’t teach you everything you need to know to drive safely and confidently. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, teen and inexperienced drivers are at especially high risk for accidents. Once you have your driver’s license, consciously continue to practice habits that will keep you safe over a lifetime of driving.
Large trucks cannot brake or change direction quickly. Trucks also have large blind spots. If you cannot see a truck driver and truck mirrors clearly, the trucker cannot see you. Leave adequate room when sharing the road with trucks. Accidents involving semi-trucks can be fatal.
There are three major types of “distracted driving” and all significantly increase your chances of being in an accident. First, there is visual distraction or taking your eyes off the road. Second, there is manual distraction, which involves taking a hand off the steering wheel to do something like adjusting a sound system or temperature. Third, there is cognitive distraction such as talking to a passenger or just not paying attention to the road.
When you see flashing lights in your mirror, slow down and pull over to the right shoulder of the road, using your turn signal to indicate lane changes. Roll down your window so that the officer can see inside your car and communicate with you easily. Stay calm and polite and avoid anything that might be interpreted as a “furtive movement” or reaching for a weapon. You should have your driver’s license, registration, and insurance information at the ready to hand over to the officer. Don’t argue with what their decision turns out to be. Just be honest and discuss any issues you might have with a traffic law attorney or professional.
Even on a deserted road, obey all traffic rules. A “rolling stop” or other illegal maneuver recorded by a traffic camera can result in a ticket even if the road is empty. Always assume a law enforcement professional is watching how you operate your vehicle. If you abide by the laws, you should have no problems.
Although GPS systems are useful, they aren’t perfect. GPS systems can steer you to dead ends or places where roads are blocked or don’t exist. Some areas have poor reception causing GPS systems to fail entirely. Carry a paper map or screenshot of your route in case your GPS fails or steers you in an obviously wrong direction.
Driving is one of the leading causes of death for young drivers. Practicing defensive driving habits will keep you and your passengers safe. Stay informed, be smart, and trust your ability as you follow your road.