On this blog (and in our courses), we spend a lot of time reminding you of the dangers you face when you’re on the road. After all, for most of us, driving is one of the most dangerous things we’ll ever do, and unlike most risky activities, driving isn’t something we do on occasion or only once and then never again—it’s something we do on a daily basis! That’s why it’s so important that you never take for granted that nothing serious will go wrong when you’re behind the wheel.
Nevertheless, as we’ve pointed out recently, crash fatality rates in the U.S. have been steadily declining for decades, and in 2013 fewer people died on U.S. roads than during any year since 1949, even as more people are driving than ever before. The truth is, there’s probably never been a better time to be a driver. Now, before you start thinking that you can start slacking off, it’s important to note that one of the main reasons that the roads have become so much less dangerous is because drivers know more about how to keep themselves safe than ever before—and more than ever they’re doing what it takes to protect themselves and everyone with whom they’re sharing the road.
Here at DriversEd.com, we’re grateful whenever a driver is able to avoid a ticket or collision because he or she is paying attention and making the right decisions on the road. But there are plenty more reasons for drivers to give thanks this year, and in honor of the Thanksgiving holiday, we’d like to pay our respects to a few of them here.
It’s a fact you’ll hear us repeat over and over again: motor vehicle collisions are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, especially among teenagers. Indeed, in 2013, car crashes represented the number one cause of death for Americans between 15 and 24 years old, and one of the top five causes of death for everyone between 1 and 44 years old. Nevertheless, while driving still remains one of the most dangerous things we do, fewer people died on U.S. roads in 2013 than during any year since 1949—despite the fact that the amount of driving that Americans do has increased sevenfold in that time!
The truth is that driving may be safer now than at any time in history—at least for some. But the unfortunate secret lurking at the center of these encouraging statistics is that not all drivers have benefited equally from these improvements in safety. In particular, drivers who are economically disadvantaged have not only not shared in these gains, but their risk of dying in a crash has actually increased while driving has become safer for everyone else.
When new drivers first get on the road, one of the first things they learn is how much they still don’t know. No, it’s not because they didn’t pay enough attention in drivers ed; rather, because driving involves dealing constantly with unique and unpredictable situations, there’s a lot you can learn only once you’ve had some actual experience behind the wheel. That’s why, in our courses, we stress that drivers ed is just the beginning of a lifelong process of learning to become a safe and responsible driver.
In addition, there’s a great deal to know about the process of buying, owning, and maintaining a vehicle that isn’t covered in most standard drivers ed classes. As a result, you may quickly find your confidence as a new driver deflated and yourself looking for answers to one driving-related question after another.
Of course, with so much information available online, new drivers have more resources at their disposal than ever before. Unfortunately, because there’s so much to sort through, it can sometimes be difficult to know what to trust and what to ignore. To help you sort the best from the rest, we’ve put together this short guide to the top teen driver resources on the Internet. Here, you’ll find out where you can learn more about defensive driving, maintaining your car, getting a car insurance policy, and more.
We know that getting a drivers license can be stressful—that’s why we do everything we can to guide our drivers ed students through the process in a clear and straightforward way. But for many, the unfortunate fact is that as hard as getting a license can be, the process of buying your first car can be even worse. With so much to worry about, it’s no wonder that more and more teens are waiting to become new drivers.
Don’t let the complexities of buying a car discourage you from getting your license! Even without owning a car, having a license gives you more options for getting around, including renting a car or borrowing one from your parents or friends. Besides, getting your license isn’t going to get any easier over time. And the truth is, buying your first car may easier than you think. After reviewing this handy guide, you may discover that owning a car is within your reach after all!
The assumption: if you get into a collision, it’s going to cost you a few bucks. The reality: it’s more than just “a few”.
Yes, we realize that we are in the Driver’s Ed business – you should still take one of our courses, even though we’re going to give you some pro tips in this post. Driving is a skill, and like any skill, certain things are only learned from experience. We’re going to save you a bit of time with these 5 tips that veteran drivers use to keep them out of trouble on the roads. (And yes, we used the word “crash”, instead of “accident”. Here’s why.) Read More
Mom and Dad mean well. Really, they do. But as you’ve probably suspected for a while – dating back to the time when you went swimming right after you ate a cheeseburger and weren’t seized by horrible, horrible cramps that caused you to drown – some of the scary warnings that your parents have given you aren’t entirely based in reality. This includes some of the “advice” they’ve given you about driving. Here’s a few of the more popular myths perpetuated by parents everywhere.
For most of us, fall and winter mean a change in the weather; as the temperatures begin to drop, road conditions become more dangerous. Driving in rain, ice or snow can be a nerve-wracking experience for new drivers. Here are some tips to keep you safe on the roads when the weather takes a turn for the worst. Read More
Admit it—you’d give anything to know just what your driving instructor thinks of you. More specifically, you want to know exactly what your driving instructor thinks you’re going to mess up. Since we want you to succeed, we thought it would be fun to ask our staff of state-licensed driving instructors the burning question: what are the top three mistakes student drivers make? Now, this wasn’t exactly a scientific survey—but we did see a few of the same answers emerge as contenders for the top three. So when you get behind the wheel for your driving test, try to avoid the following. Then, once you have your license, keep on avoiding the following!
Many of our instructors noted that quite a few students didn’t have a firm understanding of the car’s controls, and would get them confused. Mixing up the windshield wipers and the turn signal? That’s easily corrected, and usually isn’t a big deal if it happens while driving. Stepping on the gas pedal when you meant to step on the brake? That could be…problematic. The fix? Spend some time familiarizing yourself with the controls before putting the car in motion. And if you’re driving a car that you haven’t driven before, make sure you survey the dashboard and steering column so that you know where everything is and how it works. (This is something that experienced drivers should do as well.)
Use Your Turn Signal
Speaking of the turn signal, now that you know where it is, there’s no excuse for you not to use it. Yes, you should signal every time you turn—even if you’re in a clearly marked turn lane at an intersection. Signalling your intention isn’t just the courteous thing to do—it lets other drivers as well as cyclists and pedestrians know your intentions, so that they can react accordingly. This goes a long way in preventing crashes (yes, crashes—because as we’ve said, auto “accidents” are usually anything but).
Know Your Blind Spots
Blind spots vary from model to model, but every car has them, and every driver needs to check them before changing lanes, merging, or backing up. You can reduce your blind spots by adjusting your side mirrors—pushing them out so that you see more of the road, and less of the side of your car. But you still should take a glance over your shoulder to make sure your blind spots are clear. Every time.
October 19th through the 23rd is National Teen Driver Safety Week. This week, DriversEd.com and our sister site I Drive Safely will be sharing a lot of great information aimed at teen drivers and their parents, tips that will help everyone in your family stay safe on the roads. And for teens and their parents in California and Texas, we’re offering something extra—we’re giving away over 2,000 hours’ worth of online California and Texas driver training courses! To enter to win one of the 35 iDriveSafely California Online Drivers Education Courses for novice drivers (30 hours each), California teens 14 and older can email CA_Sweepstakes@eDriving.com. To enter to win one of 15 DriversEd.com Parent-Taught Drivers Education Courses for novice drivers (86 hours each), Texas teens should email TX_Sweepstakes@eDriving.com. The courses have a retail value of $64.95 and $149, respectively. Find full rules for the giveaway at www.edriving.com.
The period after you first get your license can be exhilarating, a time of experiencing the world from an entirely new perspective. But no matter how safely you drive, the odds are good that eventually you’ll be in a crash. For most drivers, a collision is more or less inevitable: according to the NHTSA, every year about 1 in 40 licensed drivers gets into a crash, and car insurance industry estimates suggest that, on average, drivers file collision claims with their insurers once every eighteen years.
Don’t be caught off guard! Whether you’ve never been in a crash before or just want to make sure you don’t make things worse for yourself if you get into a crash in the future, this short guide covers everything you need to know to handle your first collision in a safe and mature way.