When getting behind the wheel as a young driver, it is important to remember that safety should always be your top priority. Unfortunately, many young drivers make mistakes that can lead to accidents. By being aware of the most common risks on the road, you can help keep yourself and others safe. Take a look at the most common mistakes young drivers make below and remember them so that you can avoid making the same mistakes yourself.
Not having the right insurance
One of the main mistakes a young driver can make is not having the right insurance. If you are involved in an accident, you could be held responsible for damages and injuries, so make sure you are properly insured before getting behind the wheel. Failure to have the right insurance can result in instant disqualification from driving and could end up with your car being towed, so it’s worth making the effort to ensure you’re fully covered by a company like one sure insurance before heading out on the road.
Another mistake young drivers make is speeding. Remember, speed limits aren’t only in place to keep you safe – they’re also there to keep other road users safe from you. According to research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the chances of being killed by a car increases by 8.5% for every 5mph extra a car is moving at. This is why, in residential areas, it’s vital to stick to no more than 20mph. The chances of survival are far greater at 20mph than at 25mph, so always obey the speed limit and drive according to conditions.
Driving under the influence
Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is NEVER ok. If you are caught driving whilst under the influence, you could face serious consequences. Not only will you put yourself at risk, but you could also endanger the lives of others, especially passengers in your car. There is no completely safe limit of alcohol for driving, as any amount can slow down your responsiveness, but low-alcohol options are now available which should help you stay below the legal limit if you’re the designated driver for the night. Meanwhile, drug driving can get your licence instantly disqualified, so stay away from drugs before driving, even if they’re only recreational.
Not wearing a seatbelt
All passengers in a vehicle should always wear a seatbelt. By not buckling up, you increase your chances of being injured or killed in an accident by 50%, showing just how important they are for safety. Whilst wearing a seatbelt is now a habit for most young drivers born after seatbelts were made a legal requirement, 7% of drivers and passengers still don’t strap in. Remember, it is the driver’s legal responsibility to ensure those under 14 are wearing their seatbelt, whilst adult passengers need to take responsibility themselves. If a passenger refuses to wear their seatbelt, refuse to drive until they buckle up.
Using your phone while driving
Texting while driving is one of the most dangerous things you can do on the road. If you must text, pull over to a safe location first. If you use your phone as your satnav, make sure to never take your eyes off the road for longer than it takes to glance at the map. Similarly, you should never pick up your phone to change the song that’s playing – you must use a cradle instead to keep the phone at eye level, and don’t be tempted to remove it.
Playing music too loud
Whilst loud music in itself isn’t dangerous, it can prevent you from hearing oncoming hazards, such as emergency vehicles trying to get past. You also need to be able to hear other audio cues, such as car horns and pedestrian crossings, so if your loud music results in you being unable to hear things properly, you could get fined for distracted driving.
Sitting too far forward/back
Young drivers often have a habit of not adjusting their seat before driving. It’s common to see people hunched over the wheel, which restricts their access to the indicator stick and gearbox, whilst those who sit reclined back are less able to reach the pedals, meaning emergency stops are made much harder. If you’re seen to be sitting in an unsuitable position, you could be pulled over by the police for dangerous driving. Similarly, the airbag can cause serious injury to your face and chest if you’re sat too close during a crash, whilst it won’t do anything at all to protect you against whiplash if you’re sat too far back.
Ultimately, these mistakes are very easy to make, but also very easy to avoid once you know how. Follow these tips and you should be safe on the road, no matter what happens.