What once was seen as a powerful yet strikingly dangerous machine has become an everyday tool people take for granted. Because of continuous advancements in vehicle safety, drivers rarely question their habitual driving habits. Cars are still one of the most threatening forces in day-to-day living, but with the help of new technology and better driving etiquette, people can still travel safely. Teaching teens to respect the machine as they learn to be leaders on the road by driving safely is at the forefront of importance.
Assume Drivers are Distracted
The first mistake most drivers make is thinking their bad habits will be offset by the good habits of other drivers. But when everyone has this mindset it leaves the road filled with dangerous motorists. Instead, people need to assume that every car around them is an accident waiting to happen. This keeps the driver focused on the road, aware of what is going on and prepared in case the car in the next lane drifts over. By implementing this mindset at a young age, teenagers can be one step ahead of their elder offenders.
Phones are Here to Stay
Since the conception of mobile phones, people have been told not to use them while driving, yet the problem has only escalated from one-handed phone conversations to two-handed texting. Staying in touch has become a necessity for so many people that asking them to stop talking while driving has become fruitless. Instead, drivers should be hands-free with a Bluetooth headset or use voice commands that replace typing. Some newer phones offer voice-to-text options yielding good results for the ever-social teenager.
If you're in the market for a new car, Honda Odyssey reviews highlight its hands-free phone connectivity. Honda is also in talks of adding additional hands-free capabilities with Siri's "Eyes Free" integration that allows drivers to communicate with their phones without looking at them.
Cars With Eyes
Every young driver first learns that the most important safety strategy is to keep his or her eyes on the road. But with so many distractions from phones and iPods to GPS screens and console menus, few drivers can always keep their focus on the road. Yet all it takes is one quick glance away for the car ahead to slam on its brakes without the driver behind being aware. The Wall Street Journal showcases a reduction in auto claims as new cars are utilizing technology to auto detect collisions and hit the brakes in case the driver doesn't.
Relax and Listen
Between all the phone calls, text messages, emails and music abilities of the modern era, driving seems to be more like work or a social engagement. If we can teach teens early on to silence their phones while driving, relax and pay attention, everyone will be that much safer on the roads. Encourage drivers to turn off all sounds and listen to the road or tune in to some low volume relaxing music. This can help with overall awareness of other drivers and keep the focus on driving.
Pay It Forward
Sometimes all it takes to prevent an accident is a little inspiration. When one driver acts polite to another it can motivate others on the road to practice the same courtesy. This can mean letting people make turns when they are waiting on an endless stream of cars to pass by, stopping so someone can pull out of a parking space, or not racing to weave in front of other drivers on the highway. In many cases, one less aggressive driver can equate to many more.