How to be a bet­ter driver

Lesotho Times - - Motoring -

Do you have your driver’s per­mit or li­cense or are you get­ting ready to take the test? Con­grat­u­la­tions! Be­ing able to drive can make it a lot eas­ier to hang out with your friends, get to school, do er­rands, and get to work. It’s great to en­joy your in­de­pen­dence, but most im­por­tantly, be safe when you’re be­hind the wheel.

The facts Au­to­mo­bile ac­ci­dents are the lead­ing cause of death for teens in the United States.

Per mile driven, teen driv­ers be­tween the ages of 16-19 are three times more likely than driv­ers 20 years and older to be in a fa­tal crash.

The death rate among male driv­ers and pas­sen­gers from 16-19 years old is al­most 2x higher than fe­males.

Crash risk is the high­est dur­ing the first year that a teenager has his/her li­cense.

Com­pared with other driv­ers, teens have the low­est rate of seat belt use.

How can I be­come a good driver?

Be­fore you turn the key in the ig­ni­tion: 1. Spend time sit­ting in the driver’s seat of the car you’ll be driv­ing. Ad­just the seat height and an­gle of the seat back un­til you’re com­fort­able but fully able to re­main alert! 2. Be­come fa­mil­iar with the dash­board and set­tings and what all the sym­bols mean in­clud­ing the warn­ing lights 3. Prac­tice turn­ing on the wind­shield wipers (be­fore it rains) 4. Lo­cate the emer­gency brake 5. Lo­cate the gas tank and learn how to open it and pump gas 6. Learn about the ba­sic parts of the car and where they are lo­cated (en­gine, bat­tery, etc.) 7. Ad­just the side and rear view mir­rors so that you can see the cars be­hind you and from either side of you 8. Check to make sure your head­lights and high beams work 9. Find out how to check the tire pres­sure 10. Find out where the “car in­struc­tion man­ual” is kept 11. Find out where the reg­is­tra­tion, road­side as­sis­tance, and in­sur­ance in­for­ma­tion cards

are kept

When you’re first learn­ing how to drive Driv­ing can be scary and nerve-wrack­ing in the be­gin­ning. Whether you prac­tice driv­ing with your teacher, your par­ent/guardian, a sib­ling, or an­other adult, the more you drive the more com­fort­able and skilled you will be­come.

When you are first learn­ing, you’ll be most com­fort­able driv­ing on clear, sunny days in ar­eas close to home, with­out a lot of traf­fic. Even­tu­ally, you’ll be ready to try driv­ing on big­ger roads, at night, and in dif­fer­ent weather con­di­tions such as rain or snow.

Re­mem­ber: Never drive any­where with­out a trusted adult when you are first learn­ing

how to drive.

Driv­ing safety tips Al­ways wear your seat­belt whether you’re the driver or pas­sen­ger; ev­ery car, ev­ery time!

Fol­low the law about when you can drive and with whom. If you don’t fol­low the rules and you get stopped by the po­lice, you can have your per­mit taken away or lose your li­cense even be­fore your ca­reer be­gins.

Al­ways turn off your cell phone; it’s dis­tract­ing and will take your at­ten­tion away from the road.

Never ever text while driv­ing – know your state’s laws and the le­gal con­se­quences. Never use ear­phones; you’ll need to be able to hear sounds such as horns and sirens.

Avoid chang­ing the ra­dio sta­tion or CD’S while driv­ing. If you’re lis­ten­ing to mu­sic, keep it at a rea­son­able vol­ume so you can hear sirens, car horns, and other noises.

If you need to make a call or do some­thing that re­quires your full at­ten­tion, pull over to a well-lit, safe area.

NEVER use drugs or al­co­hol be­fore or

while driv­ing. If you are sleepy, pull over to a safe area. If you have an­other li­censed driver in the car, ask them to drive.

Al­ways keep a safe dis­tance be­tween you and the car in front of you (this will give you plenty of space to stop if the car ahead of you stops sud­denly).

Know the speed limit of the road you are driv­ing on and be sure to fol­low it.

Be sure to have an Emer­gency Plan — know how to con­tact your par­ent(s)/guardian(s) or an­other re­spon­si­ble adult, in case you have car trou­ble or you get lost.

Never get into a car if the driver has been drink­ing or us­ing drugs. Al­ways have a des­ig­nated driver whom you can trust to re­main sober and straight.

In many coun­tries there are con­se­quences for be­ing the pas­sen­ger in a car in which al­co­hol or drugs are found or used.

What should I keep in the car? Keep the fol­low­ing items in the car or in your wal­let when you are driv­ing: Your li­cense Car reg­is­tra­tion Name and phone num­ber of your in­sur­ance com­pany

A card with a list of emer­gency con­tacts (par­ent(s) or guardian(s), car own­ers)

Your ID, if you have a mem­ber­ship to a road­side as­sis­tance plan (such as AAA)

Flash­light, bat­ter­ies, and jumper ca­bles; and a shovel (dur­ing the win­ter in snowy cli­mates) Blan­ket, wa­ter, non­per­ish­able food First aid kit Small note­book and pen (to take notes if you are in an ac­ci­dent). — young­wom­en­shealth

Be­ing a good driver comes with the knowl­edge of what to do when driv­ing.

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