Driver Education Information That Could Save Your Life
May 21, 2010
Driver education can save thousands of lives. Don’t believe me? Imagine a car and a gun side-by-side. Tell me, which do you think has taken more teen lives? If you feel like the answer should be the gun, think about this for awhile: which one of the two do you see more often day-to-day? While most of the country pays close attention to the subject of gun control or the views of the National Rifle Association, very little focus is given to the number one cause of death for teens- Car Crashes.
The need for driver education is very important because so many of us take the right and the responsibility of driving every day for granted. We travel the roadways and go about our daily routines without the safety reminders we all need. And if you are a new driver— you need the reminders more frequently. We’re going to discuss the basics — the lessons you should be absorbing. This is by no means a substitute for actual driver education, just a summary of the information you may need a refresher on and could save your life.
Buckle Up – Before even starting the car or stepping on the accelerator, always fasten your seat belts. Each year, over 400,000 teen drivers between the ages 16 and 20 get injured in car crashes. Wearing your seat belt will help save your life. It will keep you from being thrown out of the vehicle, lessen the force of impact when hitting the dashboard or other interior spaces in the vehicle and reduce the collision forces on your internal organs. Coupled with air bags, what would be a fatal crash can be reduced to one with only minor injuries. This is also true for your passengers. Make sure they fasten their seat belts. In the event of a crash, if they are not properly belted they can literally become a flying object within the car causing serious injury themselves and other occupants.
Overcrowding – When driving a car, you are not only responsible for your safety, but also for the safety of all your passengers. Being a teen driver already increases your crash risk, but having other teens in the vehicle actually doubles that. Teens make up about 12% of all fatal car crashes in the United States. Overcrowding not only affects the way you drive overall, but causes distractions while driving. In some states, you can be ticketed and fined for driving with minors in the car.
Overloading – A fact you learn in driver education: for every 100 pounds in the car’s trunk, we lower the car’s fuel economy by 2%. This may seem like a low number, but it adds up in the long run. Not only that, but it shifts the center of gravity of your vehicle which in turn affects engine performance, braking distance, and how the vehicle reacts in an emergency. If you’re planning on carrying a lot of stuff — don’t stuff it in the trunk, call a moving van instead.
Emergency Kit – Driver education teaches you all aspects of driving: from trip preparation, operating a vehicle, laws and safety guidelines, defensive driving techniques and handling vehicle emergencies. Always make sure that, when faced with a vehicular emergency, breathe — stay calm. Panicking does not fix your car or improve the situation. If you plan ahead with the proper knowledge, a vehicle emergency tool kit including a spare tire, you’re going to be okay. If you can’t fix the vehicle, remember to have a fully-charged phone, with all your emergency numbers before leaving.
Car Maintenance – Do you know how to check your oil? Is there enough fuel in the tank? Can you check if your tires are worn? Can you check the tire pressure? Are your mirrors adjusted correctly? These are small things you should know how to do after attending driver education — and you should turn this into a routine!
Defensive Driving Techniques – Do you know where your blind spots are and check them each time? Do you keep a space cushion around your vehicle? Is there always a minimum of a two second following distance between your vehicle and the one ahead? Do you look left right left again before entering and intersection? These are some of the many techniques to be a defensive driver and a driver education course covers them.
Driver education is a small step for turning teens into competent drivers on the road. Not only that, but driver proficiency is a skill you will be carrying for life — knowing the small things could save your life in the future! If you have a good attitude towards learning, and you try to learn as much as you can, you are well on your way to becoming a great driver.