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How New Drivers Can Reduce Their Risk of Road Accidents

Being safe on the road is incredibly important for all drivers—especially the rookies. Traffic accidents are unfortunately common for new drivers.

While there are always ample options to pursue compensation after a collision occurs (like a Boca Raton auto accident lawyer), it’s ideal to prioritize safe driving from the moment you get behind the wheel, reducing your risk right from the start.

Buckle Up

Though it may come as a surprise, there are plenty of drivers who don’t see seatbelt usage as a mandatory, everyday requirement. Don’t be one of those drivers. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that wearing a seatbelt can help lower the risk of crash injuries by nearly 50 percent.

As a driver, your passengers are your responsibility. Encourage passengers to follow your example and ensure that everyone is wearing a seatbelt before you put the car in drive.

Eliminate Distractions

The concept of distracted driving is consistently associated with phone use, which should always be avoided while behind the wheel. Text-blocking apps make it easier than ever to avoid the distraction of texting and driving. But there are many other ways to get distracted on the road.

Avoiding rowdy passengers and loud music can help greatly reduce the risk of an accident. Additionally, always look where you’re going. A surprising amount of collisions are simply the result of “rubber necking” or a quick glance away from the road.

Enroll in Driving School

Even if you passed driver’s ed. with flying colors, there’s always more to learn. Many vehicle manufacturers (such as BMW) offer driving schools for teens. Courses cover topics of car control, avoiding obstacles, and completing a precision-focused “autocross” course.

Follow the Rules

Depending on where you live, being a new driver comes with a special set of rules. The United Kingdom enforces a six-month passenger restriction for new drivers under the age of 24. And in the majority of the United States, nighttime driving hours are restricted for new drivers.

These rules were created to help promote new driver safety and reduce accidents, so it’s always a good idea to know your rules and comply accordingly. Following the rules also comes into play with speed limits.

Be aware of speed limits and respect these limits. When it comes to your safety, being late is better than speeding to get to your destination on time. Reduce your need to speed by planning ahead and determining optimal arrival times based on traffic patterns and other possible delays.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Ensure that your mirrors are properly adjusted in order to minimize blind spots. Use the mirrors to your advantage and always check before changing lanes or backing out. If possible, invest in a vehicle with safety technology that enhances your awareness, such as a rear backup camera or a blind spot-monitoring system.

Even if you’re in a place where you don’t expect a collision, make sure you’re as aware as possible. Accidents happen, even in slow-moving settings like a parking lot.

Stay Awake

While new drivers are consistently warned about the dangers of drinking and driving, there’s another major risk that can be easily avoided: driving while drowsy. Particularly for longer trips, plan ahead. Get a good night’s sleep and be smart about when you drive, and how long you’ll drive without breaks.

If you feel any significant symptoms of drowsiness, it’s recommended that you pull off the road and take a power nap or drink some caffeine in order to finish the trip as safely as possible.

Watch the Weather

Driving in inclement weather is always stressful and risky—especially for new drivers. Avoid driving in bad weather whenever possible, but if you must head out on the road, stay prepared for weather shifts.

As the temperature drops, switch to winter windshield wiper fluid and check your tire pressure and tread depth. Clear visibility and sturdy tires will help set you up for success.

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