Learning to drive is one of the few rites of passage most Americans will participate in. Whether we learn from a relative or driving school (or combination of both), the shift from passenger to driver is an exciting one. In that excitement, it’s important to keep certain “rules of the road” in mind, of course, so that you remain safe with plenty of driving ahead.
New drivers should remember to:
Know Your Vehicle. It’s important to read the manual that came with the vehicle you drive. It contains all sorts of useful information about changing fluids, changing tires, and how your car communicates with you. Even if you have parents you can call when things go wrong, or emergency roadside assistance, it’s important to have a basic idea of how your vehicle operates.
Drive Sober. It’s illegal for Americans younger than 21 to drink alcohol. Nevertheless, underage drinking happens. If you end up drinking alcohol, for whatever reason, do not drive! Do not let your friends drive, either. Call a cab, take the bus, walk, call a parent…anything to keep from getting behind the wheel. Not only could you die or cause a death by driving drunk, you could end up arrested and be forced to use an ignition interlock device for years simply because of a bad choice.
Keep Your License With You. Always have your license with you when you’re driving. It’s best to also have the vehicle’s registration paperwork and proof of insurance with you in your vehicle, as well. You will need this information should anything ever happen and law enforcement asks for this information. You will definitely need these forms of identification for you and the vehicle should you get into an accident.
Be Mindful. Remember that you are not the only one using the roads. Bicyclists ride in the street along with cars and trucks. Motorcyclists are also sharing the road. Make sure you keep a look out for these smaller vehicles so that no one gets hurt. Your car is much more dangerous to them than they are to you.
As a new driver, the last thing you want to chance is an accident or suspension of your license for not following the law. Always wear your seat belt, don’t text and drive or drive when you are sleepy (or have been drinking) and you’ll quickly grow out of your new driver status, and into the world of safe and responsible drivers.