Congratulations on Getting Your License
Every teen driver dreams of the day their learner’s permit turns into a driver’s license. Miles of open roads are in front of you and freedom beckons. It can be a heady feeling and one to be enjoyed. However, many drivers feel that their driving experience only starts at this moment: you’ve mastered the basics of the car but there’s still a lot to learn about the road.
Here at the Law Offices of Blaine J Barrilleaux, our auto accident attorneys see a lot of car accidents, many of which might have been avoided if drivers had taken some basic safety precautions. So, we’ve come up with a list of some tips that first-time drivers might find helpful to keep in mind.
You Can’t Get in an Accident if You Don’t Hit Anything
This may seem obvious, but it’s a good reminder. You might be a great driver but it’s other drivers that you need to be aware of. Keep your distance from other cars, and if you see drivers behaving erratically, slow down, and try and put some distance between you and them. Go easy on yourself – you have nothing to prove; so, stick to local routes that you’re familiar with for the first days and weeks after passing your test. Driving is fun and you can build your confidence in the early days by taking it easy.
Keep Essentials in Your Car
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst is a useful rule of thumb to bear in mind. If you have thought through the essentials that you may need if you do get into an accident, then you’ll do better than someone who doesn’t consider this as a possibility.
Permanent items to keep in your car may include:
- First aid kit
- Extra clothes
- Bottle of water
- Some long-life cereal or protein bars
- Phone charger
Buy a Phone Mount for Your Car
Nowadays, a person’s phone is their castle. Everything you need is on your phone, including your music and your GPS system. Buy a decent phone mount so you’re not distracted by your phone loose in your car or even worse looking down at your lap instead of focusing on the road.
Before you set off, it’s a good idea to set your GPS and playlist; if you’re a bit nervous, lose the music altogether for the first few hundred miles you drive to allow yourself to really concentrate. Turn your notifications to silent, and make sure your phone charger is plugged in.
Be Extra Careful in Inclement Weather
Accidents can happen at any time, in any weather, but they are more prevalent in inclement conditions. Storms, wind, rain, snow, and sleet can prove very distracting for drivers, as well as the more obvious issues of sliding on black ice, or slipping uncontrollably after heavy rainfall. It’s an unfortunate truth that your driving might be impeccable, but if you get caught up with another driver or drivers that are not as cautious, you could wind up in an accident.
We don’t suffer with ice or snow in Louisiana, but as a team of car accident attorneys in Lafayette, we’ve seen the unfortunate reality that can result when people drive through the flash floods and intense downpours that our state is becoming known for.
Ignore Aggressive Drivers
There are lots of different drivers out there, and unfortunately, some are aggressive and hostile. We’ve all experienced being honked at when you’ve done nothing wrong or had someone drive past too quickly with little care or consideration for anyone else.
Road rage does not help in any situation and can make things worse. The Zebra conducted a survey in May 2020 and found that 82% of drivers in the U.S. admit to having road rage or driving aggressively at least once in the past year.
If you experience an aggressive driver, don’t put yourself in danger by trying to retaliate or yell back to them. It’s distracting for you and could put you in danger of causing an accident. Instead, take a deep breath and move on with your day. If you’re still angry, find a safe place to pull in and cool down. It will always be better to arrive at your destination safely than allow your emotions to get the better of you.
Consideration is one attribute of a great driver. Honking, yelling, tailgating, and switching lanes without signaling are all inconsiderate actions that might cause another driver to react in a dangerous way. You only have control of your own car, but if you act in a considerate way on the road, you’re on your way to becoming a great driver.
Staying mindful of other drivers is critical: you don’t know if they’re tired or distracted. You don’t know what they’re doing or thinking. Be patient and remember that while everyone has somewhere to be. If all drivers show consideration to one another, the likelihood of everyone getting to their destinations safely is much higher.
What’s Done is Done After an Accident
Accidents happen – we all know that. And when they do, it’s very common for drivers to feel their adrenaline levels rise and for emotions to feel out of control. But this is the time to stay calm and not beat yourself up about what has happened, and remember there are some important actions for you to take, like: