Driving guidance for your teen when you can’t be there

Mentor for Families by eDriving, is a new mobile app that allows you to stay involved with your teen’s driving when you can’t be there in person. Your teen passed their driving test, congratulations! But, wait a minute. While your teen might have mastered parallel parking, have they also developed good judgement? Are they making good choices? Can you feel comfortable letting them drive other family members around?

Every parent wants to ensure that their teen is safe behind the wheel, but not every parent has the time to provide ongoing coaching beyond the permit process. Mentor for Families by eDriving, is a new mobile app that allows you to stay involved with your teen’s driving when you can’t be there in person.

Mentor for Families can be downloaded to iOS or Android smartphones to track your teen’s driving habits and provide proactive feedback on maintaining responsible behaviors. Mentor goes beyond the skills involved in driving to focus instead on the choices drivers make based on their overall attitude.

Developing good habits

All drivers, especially newer drivers, need some reminders to keep them aware and responsible of their driving habits, and the first year behind the wheel is when those habits are setting in.

When your teen driver appears to be making a bad choice or repeating a bad habit, Mentor doesn’t just track the behavior, it proactively warns your teen of the consequences—just like you would if you were in the car with them. When your teen is maintaining good driving habits, Mentor supports them with positive reinforcement.

Parents can stay involved with their teen’s driver coaching by logging into the web app to see how their teen did throughout the day and over time.

Research backed and data driven

To help develop good driving habits, Mentor relies on best practices drawn from the most effective models in weight-loss, fitness and behavioral change programs. Mentor combines these models with the research-backed driver improvement approaches eDriving has developed and proven through Fortune 150 clients worldwide over two decades.

To make driving improvement simple, Mentor collects driver data for each trip and over time to build an overall FICO® Safe Driving Score. This allows you and your teen to track progress and set goals. Mentor helps increase the FICO® score by providing customized “playlists” of interactive training interventions, tips, reminders and progress reports based on which habits your teen needs to improve.

Set goals and enjoy peace of mind

Mentor provides neutral coaching to help your teen develop good driving habits while also providing you some visibility into how your teen is doing out on the road. You can relax a little—and probably avoid a few bickering sessions by you not having to “nag” your teen about their driving.

Mentor’s FICO® score also allows you to set some goals for improving and then maintaining good driving habits. Perhaps you can identify a reward for when your teen reaches or maintains a certain FICO® score. Or turn it into a game to see which drivers in your family are the safest and who “wins” by having the highest FICO® score (maybe the winner gets to drive everyone to an ice cream outing).

Busy parents certainly aren’t too busy to still worry. Using Mentor for Families not only helps your teen ingrain good driving behaviors; it also provides a way for you to stay connected with your kid on the road so you can have some peace of mind.

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Earn your driving privileges faster with Mentor for Families

Download Mentor for Families today to track, measure, progress, and get on the road (safely!) as soon as possible. It’s a classic Catch 22 that all new drivers face: In order to gain more driving privileges, you need to prove you are responsible; but you can only prove you’re responsible by being able to drive. How can younger drivers convince their parents that they’re staying safe behind the wheel? The new Mentor for Families by eDriving app might be able to help you out.

Mentor for Families tracks and analyzes your driving habits and provides personalized feedback and tips. It’s like your personal driving coach.

Feedback based on your data

Mentor for Families tracks data on each trip you take, as well as analyzes trends over time. To help build skills and reinforce good habits, Mentor proactively chimes in with tips and reminders based on how you’re driving. It’s fun, friendly, and adds an element of healthy competition to developing good driving habits.

You’ll also receive personalized recommendations for training modules that target skills you need to improve, all available within the app.

A single score to show progress

Mentor consolidates all of your driving data into a single unit of measure called your FICO® Safe Driving Score. You can also track improvement in single skill areas. The idea is to provide a framework for tracking your progress, which will be much more convincing to your parents than your friends’ validation or the fact that you haven’t been in an accident yet.

Demonstrating an improved FICO® Safe Driving Score might help convince your parents to allow extra privileges, such as staying out an extra hour or taking the car for a weekend camping trip. Your FICO® Safe Driving Score might also come in handy if you end up in a fender bender and need to help convince your insurance provider that you are an overall safe driver.

Help to earn your car keys

It’s not always easy for parents to feel comfortable handing over the keys to the family vehicle. They know that learning to drive well takes time. They also know from direct experience how dangerous the roads can be and how many bad drivers are out there. Mentor can help you convince your parents that you’re not one of those bad drivers.

Download Mentor for Families today to track, measure, progress, and get on the road (safely!) as soon as possible.

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Teen talk: 5 Stars for Mentor, eDriving’s new app!

DriversEd.com teen blogger Jett Roberts, 16, is a student at Bishop O’ Dowd High School in Oakland, California. Jett is working toward obtaining his drivers license and currently drives under adult supervision with a California permit.

eDriving, the parent company of DriversEd.com, has released a new app, Mentor for Families by eDriving, which tracks your driving trips and provides feedback on your driving performance. I found it very useful over the past week of testing and would recommend it to all my readers. This new service will help you learn where you can improve, and will make you the excellent driver your parents crave.

Mentor for Families by eDrivingOnce you’ve downloaded and logged into the app, it connects to your phone’s GPS to track where you (or whoever is driving the car) go when you drive. While you’re in the car it keeps track of everything you do and records a detailed synopsis of all your driving maneuvers. It tracks and provides feedback on things like hard braking, acceleration rate, speed (including if you go over the speed limit), taking corners too hard, and notes when your phone is being used while the car is in motion (which it shouldn’t be!).

Here are some of the key features I particularly liked:

    • Jett's Mentor score

      Jett has a Mentor score of 768! Congrats, Jett!

      Tracking my driving time: Since I’ve been driving with my permit I’ve kept a little notepad on my phone with a record of my driving, but this app is automated. It tracks day and time and the duration of your drive. Better yet, it is a cumulative total for those of us (like me) who need to accrue “X” amount of hours behind the wheel before I can get my license. According to the state of California, I will need 50 hours of driving to get my license, including 10 hours of nighttime driving. And Mentor is going to keep track of that time for me!

    • Quality of drive: After downloading the app, I used it first with someone else driving to measure the quality of the driving experience. As I mentioned, it gave input on things like the quality of stops (smoothness), how well the driver takes curves, and speed limit violations. On a drive into San Francisco it told my Mom, who was driving, that she had exceeded the speed limit 5 times (you can click on a map to find out exactly where on the route that happened) and that she had “smooth maneuvers” another 5 times. You should have seen the look on her face when I told her this! Also, it said she had braked too abruptly once.
    • Scores key qualities of the driving experience: The app will assign a score to each of  your drives, and compares that total and your progress to other drivers using the app in your state and country. You can set stretch goals, or your parents could even set a goal you must hit before you can get your license. In the meantime, Mentor also sets a goal for your driving score. For example, my goal is 850, and right now I have 768. I’m lobbying to get my license once I hit that 850 mark!
    • Shows you exactly where you made your mistakes: When you go to the “trips” tab and click on the desired trip, it shows you the exact time and place of your error. It also does this for your smooth maneuvers. This feature helps you appreciate your strengths and fix your weak spots while you drive.

Other things it can do:

  • Shows you how you stack up on your driving technique
  • Counts how many trips you take
  • Counts how many miles you have driven

Getting the app

DriversEd.com offers Mentor for Families through Apple and Google’s app stores.

Overall, I would rate this app with 5 stars. If you are new to driving, I think you are going to really like it!

Learn more about Mentor for Families:

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Teen talk: Squeezing driver’s ed into a busy schedule

DriversEd.com Contributing Writer Alexis David has kept an ongoing diary for us as she takes our California online drivers ed course. Here’s her sixth entry.

The end of summer arrives faster than any kid would hope. School begins, and that means so much more activity, schoolwork, and staying up late to finish homework. How do students like us, especially high school students who are taking driver’s ed, fit it all into our schedules?

DriversEd.com Contributing Writer Alexis David has kept an ongoing diary for us as she takes our California online drivers ed course. As a student athlete, my day is already more action-packed than I need it to be. First it’s school, after school is practice or a game, and I still have homework. Even on weekends, I’m helping out at my church or doing my share of chores around the house. So, as you can imagine, it’s more inconvenient to find the right time to learn how to drive. What I’m going to do is use my weekends to drive. My weekends are more of a free time, so I can ask my parents to come drive with me if they’re not busy themselves. I’d like to drive whenever I can because I know with driving, you have to be consistent with it. I want to be accustomed to driving and remember how to control my vehicle. The more I practice, the better I get!

Over the course of the summer I’ve learned what being a driver takes. Driving requires being patient with others, never taking long to decide, no hesitation, and awareness. I’ve learned how to start up the car, how to stop, how to make u-turns, and how to parallel park. I can’t wait to learn more as I become more experienced. I keep telling myself that with more studying and practicing, the better I am to become a great driver; and it really paid off when taking my permit test and driving! I’ll keep training until I’m confident in my driving expertise and that I’m doing it safely.

The difference between driving in summer and driving during the school year is that in summer, I’ve had so much free time to drive. And like I’ve stated before, my days are already busy. Not only my schedule, but during school days, there are more drivers picking up or dropping off students; even after school. The roads are more frantic, and while I’m still practicing how to make simple maneuvers, I’d prefer learning at my own pace without having to worry. Another thing I’m worried about is having to be pressured to show people my driving skills. I don’t want to be persuaded into making a mistake when I’m still learning, and I definitely don’t want to risk others’ safety. I’ll become competent in driving so I can be safe on the road.

As I train as a driver, I’ll be expanding my knowledge in school. This year, I’ll be a sophomore in high school. I’m excited to see my friends again, learn what classes I’ll be in, and what I’ll be learning. I can’t wait for future events throughout the school year like spirit weeks and college trips. I’m also incredibly eager to start my volleyball and basketball seasons up again and get better at both of those sports. I also want to find out how my classmates are doing while they’re learning how to drive. We’re all 15 or becoming 15, and that’s around the age when teenagers start learning how to drive. I already know some of my friends received their permit and I know some who are taking the course; I always suggest taking driver’s ed through DriversEd.com! I’m looking forward to the day when I’ll get my license and be able to take my sister to school, grab lunch with friends, and help my parents with errands. For now, I’m just looking forward to the days I can practice my driving and make my parents proud of how far I’ve come.

I love summer and everything it has to offer, but I’m kind of glad to get back to school so I have something to do that’ll benefit me. Hopefully I can learn to drive just as easy as how I can finish my schoolwork. And good luck in school if you’re a student!

Learn more about DriversEd.com:

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Forget backpacks. The most important thing you can give your teen this school year is sleep

Forget backpacks. The most important thing you can give your teen this school year is sleepParents, as you plan your teen’s upcoming school year, are you factoring at least eight hours of sleep into their routines? Sure, you’re buying school supplies and shopping for healthy lunches, but are you considering how their workloads and schedules will affect their quality of sleep, and thus, their safety behind the wheel?

Sleep deprivation has become so much of a deadly, national epidemic that it was the subject of an Aug. 23 webinar hosted by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), entitled “Wake Up to Teen Drowsy Driving: Don’t Send Them Back to School in Debt.”

“When young people do not get enough quality sleep, they begin to accumulate ‘sleep debt,’” said Jana Price, PhD, a senior human performance investigator with the NTSB’s Office of Highway Safety. “This can result from a late night of studying, getting up early for sports practice, or fragmenting sleep by using a cell phone during the night. Sleep debt accumulates over time and, ultimately, can affect a person’s ability to think and perform, or safely operate a vehicle—this deficit, while a concern for all humans, is particularly risky for teens. Sleep debt is linked to high-risk behaviors, such as texting while driving, drinking and driving, and not wearing a seat belt.”

Prioritizing sleep
We know that crash rates rise with every hour of lost sleep. In fact, 17 consecutive hours of wakefulness causes a level of performance impairment equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of .05%. And whereas earlier research concluded that exercise, diet, and sleep comprised the recommended “triad of health” for teens, recent work and events have altered that prioritization.

“We really need to think of sleep in a different context,” said Terry Cralle, a nurse and certified clinical sleep educator who also served as a panelist on the NTSB webinar. “Sleep is now the foundation of health and wellness.”

Early school start times, work schedules, technology use, homework, extracurricular activities, and medical disorders all put teens at risk for sleep deprivation, which is why their sleep durations must be protected at all costs, Cralle said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend teens get at least eight to 10 hours of sleep each night, though its research found that only two-thirds of high school students reported getting on average only 7 hours of sleep each night.

“Here’s a scary thought: When our performance degrades with sleep deprivation, we tend to not see it,” she said. “Saying ‘I’m doing fine,’ is a tricky thing that affects our judgement on how we’re doing and how sleepy we are.”

Practicing recognition
Educating teens to recognize the warning signs of sleep deprivation is also vital, the panel said during the webinar. While individuals who have consumed alcoholic drinks realize the warning signs that tell them not to drive, the same sort of realization must occur among adults – and teens – who feel sleep deprived but are still ready to get behind the wheel.

“People who are sleep deprived are saying they’re absolutely fine to drive, but they’re absolutely not fine to drive,” Cralle said.

The webinar cited several examples of how sleep deprivation has played a role in vehicle incidents with teen drivers. One of which occurred on March 20, 2016, as four teens were traveling home from a weekend trip in south Texas. The driver’s three passengers did not survive the incident.

“At about 1:57 p.m. the driver crossed the center median, lost control of the car, entered the opposing lanes of traffic, and collided with a truck-tractor semitrailer,” Price said. “The driver was seriously injured and her three passengers died. NTSB investigators learned that, in the 24 hours before the crash, the driver had very little opportunity for sleep – only about 5 hours on the morning of the crash. The crash also happened at a time of day when most people commonly experience a dip in alertness and performance; in fact, the three passengers in the car were all either asleep or dozing at the time of the crash. We determined that that the driver’s loss of control was due to inattention resulting from her fatigue.

“What I think is interesting about this, is that teens know you shouldn’t drink and drive,” she continued. “But they don’t think about the sleep deprivation part. It makes me very sad to think these teens who thought they were choosing the right path, still ended up in a tragedy.”

Parents, here are four steps you can take now to enforce healthy sleeping habits among your teens:

  1. Create a good environment for sleep. Restrict mobile device use to common areas – outside of your teen’s bedroom – and ask your teen to power down an hour or two before bed.
  2. Advocate for later school start times. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, a teen’s school day should ideally begin no earlier than 8:30 a.m.
  3. Teach your young driver that drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk, drugged, or distracted driving.
  4. Make other transportation plans if your teen needs to make an early-morning or late-night event. Do not let your teen drive during those times, as they are when sleep normally occurs.

The NTSB has placed fatigue-related accidents on its 2017-18 Most Wanted List, a collection of NTSB’s advocacy priorities. Visit the NTSB website to read research and factsheets on the epidemic.

Read more on fatigue and drowsy driving from eDriving’s driver’s ed and driver improvement websites:

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Know before you go: How to be a safe driver during Monday’s solar eclipse

Know before you go: How to be a safe driver during Monday’s solar eclipseThis Monday, Aug. 21, the moon will move between the Earth and the sun and, for the first time in nearly a century, residents across the U.S. will view a total solar eclipse. And though not all U.S. residents will be able to view the total eclipse, about 200 million of them live within a day’s drive of the eclipse’s path. In the interest of our favorite hashtag – #roadsafety – there are some dos and don’ts drivers should follow to ensure safe travels for all.

Solar eclipse: The 4-1-1
This path of the solar eclipse – where the moon will completely cover the sun and the sun’s tenuous atmosphere, the corona – will stretch from Salem, Ore., to Charleston, S.C. Observers outside of this path will be able to see a partial solar eclipse. Traffic around the path of the eclipse is expected to be congested on Monday, and those needing to drive that day will be tempted to glance up at the event. As such, regardless of location, looking up at the eclipse without eye protection is extremely dangerous. Doing so would cause permanent injury to your retina within 100 seconds, as the naked eye is insufficiently prepared to take in all that ultraviolet light at once.

Follow these tips to ensure your safety behind the wheel on Monday:

DO NOT pull over to the shoulder of the roadway you’re driving on to view the eclipse. Instead, look for the nearest exit to take, or parking lot to pull into, and properly park your car in a designated space. Additionally, if you’re in the West, DO NOT drive on grass or through an open field to get a good spot, or to avoid traffic. That’s a quick way to start a wildfire.

DO bring the appropriate eye wear you’ll need to view the eclipse before you leave the house. NASA has these tips to finding – or creating – sufficient eyewear.

DO NOT wear opaque eclipse glasses while operating a vehicle. Use them only after you have safely parked your car.

DO look out for pedestrians along smaller roads. People may randomly park and walk along the road in the hours around the eclipse to get the best view.

DO plan for congested roadways, especially on the highways in the direct path of the eclipse the day before, the day of, and the day after the eclipse. And bring a map with you in case you find yourself with no GPS accessibility.

The more you plan ahead for Monday’s eclipse, the safer you’ll be. See what eclipse-themed activities are being held in your region, and be sure to visit NASA’s solar eclipse site for partial and total eclipse times across the U.S.

A map of the United States showing the path of totality for the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse.

See the path of totality for the Aug. 21 total solar eclipse in the map above. Click the map to go to NASA’s solar eclipse info page. Source: NASA

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A tight squeeze: How to fit drivers ed into a busy teenage schedule

DriversEd.com teen blogger Jett Roberts, 16, is a student at Bishop O’ Dowd High School in Oakland, California. Jett is working toward obtaining his drivers license and currently drives under adult supervision with a California permit.

Teen blogger Jett RobertsTo start off, let me explain: Many people might think I don’t have an extremely busy schedule due to the fact that when I am in school, I only have one after-school commitment, however this engagement takes about 3 1/2 hours of time each and every day for months! Add this to the amount of homework I receive at a college prep school, and it doesn’t leave a lot of spare time for online drivers training, or even to practice driving now with my permit.

Using time management skills

During the school year I usually get home around 7 – 7:30p.m. every night, which is followed by at least an hour or two of homework (I think junior year is going to be even worse!). I had to fit in my work with DriversEd.com somewhere, so I used my weekends to consistently attack the challenge. Every Saturday morning for several weeks I scheduled drivers ed work between 10:30 a.m. and noon. To be honest, it took time that I would have rather spent doing things with my friends or sleeping, but I had to get it done, and I was motivated by the benefits of getting my license and learning to drive competently. This system worked out for me very well, and if you have a very busy schedule then I really suggest this method! Even better, if you have time during the week after school, set aside a specific mount of time each day for your online course, and drive whenever possible once you get your permit.

Still having schedule problems?

Even if you can only schedule in 30 minutes once or twice a week, write it in your diary or on your phone’s calendar and soon, you’ll be done! An alternative is to fit it into an already established break, such as Christmas, spring, or summer break. (I did this on my Boy Scout Eagle project and it worked – just carve out big sections of time for something important like learning to drive, or getting an Eagle project done!)

A few other pieces of advice:

  • Make sure you take all of the practice tests given by DriversEd.com – they will be a huge help when you go to take the test at the Department of Motor Vehicles!
  • If you live in a busy state like California, or maybe any state where the government is backed up and scheduled to the max, make sure you call in advance to set an appointment to take your test. Here, it takes at least a month to get on the schedule, so plan that in too, and you will be set!

So, just to go over my thoughts on getting DriversEd.com done, here is my advice:

  • Schedule it into your week, either during the week after school a couple of days a week, or on the weekend, which is what I did. Write it on your calendar!
  • Keep at it! If you consistently set aside time in your schedule, you will plow through the chapters and be successful.
  • Don’t forget to make an appointment with the Department of Motor Vehicles to take your test for your permit. I recommended doing this at the halfway point through online drivers training, which will motivate you to keep at it to finish the course.

Good luck and happy driving!

Learn more about DriversEd.com:

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Popular distracted driving webinar now free and available to the public

The Seven Stages of Distraction Denial helps drivers confront myths that fuel their own distracted driving demons.Did you know distracted driving was the reason behind more than 3,400 fatal collisions in 2015? Distraction is deadly, and eDriving is working to reverse the dangerous trend. eDriving has now released its popular July webinar, “The 7 Stages of Distraction Denial,” online for all drivers to learn from and review.

For the webinar eDriving partnered with Paul Atchley, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Kansas who specializes in cognitive and brain sciences. Dr. Atchley has spent more than 25 years conducting research and teaching about cognitive factors related to driving and on the real-world implications of multitasking. With his help, eDriving is reaching out to drivers to help them confront the common denials keeping them locked into life-threatening bad habits.

Dr. Paul AtchleyIn the free “7 Stages of Distraction Denial,” webinar, Dr. Atchley reviews methods fleet managers can take to engage their drivers in confronting and breaking down their own distracted driving habits. It reviews the truth about multitasking, what companies have learned about employee productivity losses while they conduct business from their vehicle, as well as the common misconception that hands-free device use behind the wheel is safer than hands-held device use. It’s not!

The webinar may be viewed by the public on eDriving.com.

Based on the success of the “7 Stages of Distraction Denial” webinar, eDriving will host a follow-up webinar, “Changing Behavior Using ‘Closed Loop’ Telematics-Based Strategies,” Aug. 22 at 11 a.m. PDT, 2 p.m. EDT. Register here for the webinar.

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Teen talk: “Finally, my time to drive is here!”

DriversEd.com Contributing Writer Alexis David has kept an ongoing diary for us as she takes our California online drivers ed course. Here’s her fifth entry.

minicooperBeing a passenger was a routine thing that I took for granted. As a passenger, I could sleep in the car, eat, listen to music without being distracted and admire the passing scenery. I wasn’t concerned of anything as my parents or any other driver drove, but I did know that one day, I’d have to learn all the driving techniques and laws and become responsible enough to be adequate of driving a vehicle. And although I love the luxury of sitting back and relaxing in the car, I was ecstatic to get behind the wheel.

It was finally the moment that I’ve always anticipated as I grew up: driving a car. Despite the fact that excitement was coursing through me when I found out when my first driving lesson was, I was insanely nervous. All of the questions and jitters making me overestimate the experience was annoying. Questions and concerns like, “What if I crash the car during the first time?” or “I hope it won’t be awkward when I mess up and I hope it’s not too quiet.” The more I thought, the more agitated I became, so I stopped thinking about it until the day came.

Hands-on training
When it was finally the day, I had that eager-yet-hesitant feeling again. I met my driving instructor and we were off to the MINI Cooper. He drove me to an empty parking lot around my neighborhood, and we switched spots. I was in the driver’s seat while my instructor was in the passenger seat. He asked me some simple questions about where certain tools on the dashboard are, the hand signals for turns and stops, he gave me a quick hearing test, he tested my sight, and I was off. My instructor explained and showed me how to start the car, and that I was ready to begin driving at any time. He instructed me to start at my own pace, and that we’d first practice left turns. All I thought was, “We’re already starting?” but I swallowed that nervous gut feeling, and lightly stepped on the gas pedal. The car lightly lurched forward, and I was driving. I was moving the car! By myself! I slowly turned the wheel and made my turn. It was moderately bizarre, like learning how to ride a bike the first time, but the bike being much bigger, harder to move, and with more controls. I then did right turns, and after that I practiced both left and right turns while using the signal lights. I circled the parking lot until I was comfortable with what I was doing. That is, until my instructor told me to drive out of the lot. There was that nervous gut feeling again. He told me to drive through a neighborhood, and there, I encountered road bumps, turns, blind spots, pedestrians, unmarked and unmarked crosswalks. I had to remain observant of my surroundings. And like the turns, I got the hang of it. I got used to what to do when I confronted a new obstacle, and learned more about the neighborhoods I live near. Before I knew it, my lesson was over. Even with simply stepping on the pedal and turning, I felt incredibly accomplished after it was all over.

The best part of the driving was my instructor. He made it fun and he talked to me, giving me the chance to learn how to focus on the road and to the conversation I was a part of. I got to ask countless questions because he knew I was learning. That’s what I always loved about drivers ed, their support makes it incredibly easy and fun to understand.

Practice makes perfect
I loved the feeling of driving a car so much that I wanted to practice again with my dad. Nevertheless, I still had to get my permit to continue practicing. I took a vast amount of practice tests online on drivers ed, trying to improve the grade of my previous test every time. When I was ready, I was prepared to take the test.

After much waiting, I was able to take my permit test, and I passed! I was extremely relieved. I got about three questions wrong, but enough studying was exactly what I needed to pass the test.

Both driving for the first time and taking my permit test had me nervous and wondering what the outcomes would be when really, it was not a big problem. Both are building me up to becoming an exceptional driver.

Learn more about DriversEd.com:

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4 strategies for dealing with aggressive drivers

Reacting to Aggressive DriversA common wisdom says that you can’t control other people, you can only control your reactions to them. The same is true for your interactions on the road—particularly when it comes to aggressive drivers.

We’ve all encountered them: those impatient drivers who need to go as fast as possible and react angrily if they perceive someone is in their way (which is to say, everyone). Or, perhaps (ahem) it might be a young driver trying to show off by demonstrating how they “own the road.”

Unfortunately, aggressive drivers are a reality of the road, and a dangerous one at that. Having a stranger blast their horn at you or pressure you to move aside or driver faster can be distracting and uncomfortable, and at an extreme, make you do something unsafe.

Less experienced drivers are particularly susceptible to on-the-road bullying, simply because they don’t have as much experience handling a vehicle or dealing with the conflicting distractions of city streets. Here are a few skills to keep in mind to stay safer when you inevitably encounter an aggressive driver.

1. Don’t be one.
The first rule of dealing with aggressive drivers is to not be one yourself. Leave on time for your destinations so you don’t feel rushed on the road, and, please, don’t try to show off by driving fast everywhere. Just, don’t. Putting other people in danger by attempting to impress is a silly thing to do.

2. Stay calm.
If someone is tailgating you, honking at you, or yelling at you, try your best not to react. Breath, stay focused, and continue driving in a safe manner. They’ll most likely just drive around you once they have a chance. Panicking and reacting to the aggression, such as entering an intersection before you’re ready because someone is honking at you, will only put you and others in danger.

Even worse, responding with aggressive tactics of your own, like hitting your breaks to startle a tailgater or driving faster to prevent someone from passing you, only increases the danger and could insight a road rage incident. Neither of those outcomes are worth the small satisfaction you might feel from antagonizing someone who’s being a jerk behind the wheel. Instead, let it go and ignore them.

3. Just yield.
In many cases, the best way to deal with an aggressive driver is to let them be on their way. If someone is tailgating you on a two-lane road, don’t speed up. Maintain the speed limit and let them find a place to (safely!) pass. If they try to pass you in an unsafe manner (such as on a windy road or with visible oncoming traffic), gently slow down to be out of the way in case they need to suddenly veer back into your lane. If there appears to be nowhere safe for them to pass you, use the nearest pull out. It will take only a few seconds to pull over, and then you can continue your drive in peace. Whey they inevitably race past you, possibly with a hand gesture, ignore them.

4. Be thoughtful about horns.
A honking horn can is meant to be startling because it’s a safety feature, intended to quickly get someone’s attention to hopefully avoid a collision. If a driver isn’t paying enough attention and is about to run into your car, you want to use your horn to alert them to your presence.

A horn is a tool to say, “I’m here! Be careful!” (i.e. stop moving). A lot of aggressive drivers, however, use the horn to yell, “Get out of my way!” (i.e. go faster).

Do your best to keep context in mind when someone is honking at you. If someone honks at you in a parking lot, for example, it might be because you’re about to hit their car while maneuvering into a parking spot; or it might mean that they want to get out of the parking lot and are impatient that you’re driving slow to look for a spot. Take a moment to try and assess what’s being communicated before responding, especially in the latter scenario.

Also be thoughtful about your own horn use. Be sparing and use it to communicate danger or potential car damage, not as a way to yell at people.

Confidence isn’t aggression
By staying calm and clear in your driving, you can remain in control of the situation, even if someone is throwing a temper tantrum because they want you out of their way. Driving aggressively doesn’t make you a better driver, it only makes you an unsafe one. So, stay calm and focused so that you can drive with confidence.

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