Don’t rush to get your license before you are ready. Just because you passed your driver’s ed class and meet your state’s age requirements doesn’t mean you are ready to drive alone. Have you demonstrated to your parents or guardians that you are ready for the responsibility that driving represents? Have you had enough practice to master safe-driving skills? If you don’t feel comfortable behind the wheel, it’s best to wait until you’ve had more practice.
Hone your scanning skills to identify potential hazards ahead. Studies show that failure to scan for hazards is one of the major causes of teen crashes. You may have been taught the IPDE driving strategy: identify, predict, decide and execute. Identifying potential hazards — a car about to pull out, a pedestrian on the roadside, etc. — is the critical first step of the process.
Reconsider your need for speed. More than 20 percent of serious crashes caused by teen driver error are the result of drivers going too fast for road conditions. Speeding increases both the likelihood of being in a crash and crash severity.
Avoid distractions. Dealing with passengers, talking or texting on a cell phone, changing the radio, eating or applying makeup are all dangerous when you are behind the wheel. If your brain is thinking about anything other than driving, your reaction time slows, making it more difficult to avoid a crash.