Ten Hip Tips for Teen Drivers
Philip Reed, senior consumer advice editor, wrote an article at Edmunds.com called 10 Things Teens Should Know About Cars and Driving. It's a decent article filled with nominally good advice but it needs to go a step further to be truly applicable. In other words, we have advice teens might want to follow.
1. Stopped by the Cops
You have nothing to gain by mouthing off to a cop. Don't admit guilt or that you did anything wrong. Make the cop happy by pulling to the far right as possible. Cops don't like walking in traffic. Roll down all of your windows. Take off any baseball caps you or your passengers are wearing. Keep your hands visible (preferably on the dashboard) and ask the cop before making any movements.
2. Changing a Flat Tire
Props to Edmunds.com on this one. Pull over, pull out your cell, and have somebody else fix it. Odds are you've already ruined the tire. Getting yourself parked safely helps make sure you don't ruin yourself or your car. Parents shouldn't let their teens drive without a roadside assistance membership. Forget about doing it yourself.
3. Driving with a Flat Tire
OK, maybe this should have come before changing a flat tire. Basically, when your tire goes flat, your car is going to pull in the direction of the flat tire. Don't panic and jam on the brakes. Ease off the gas until you feel like you have control of your car. Then, gently accelerate so you have traction and get off the road. Brake slowly so you don't skid.
4. After an Accident
Edmunds.com has good advice here. The most important thing is, if nobody is hurt and the cars can move, get off the road. Call the cops. If you don't, the other driver is probably going to screw you somehow. Take lots of pictures with your cell phone. Get the other driver's license plate if he or she takes off. Most importantly – don't admit fault.
5. Dealing with a Drunk Friend Who Wants To Drive
We can't ignore the fact that teens are going to drive drunk. Don't ever get in the car with somebody who has been drinking. Most adults know somebody who has died or been badly maimed because of drunk drivers. It's just not worth it. Call every friend on your contact list. Somebody will come pick you up. Try your parents first, even if you're drunk. They're not going to be pissed off for long.
Also, do everything in your power to stop the drunk friend from getting on the road. Better an ex-friend than a dead friend. Call the cops if you have to. It's tough love but it works. Don't be wishy washy. Be uncool.
6. Drive Safely with a Cell Phone
Basically, shut up and drive is the best advice. Don't text while driving. Taking your eyes off the road for two seconds increases the chance you're going to crash by 50 percent. You know what kills 6000 teens a year? Car crashes. You can't drive safely and text. So, hang up the phone and let your friends' text.
7. Getting Your Car Fixed Honestly
Teens hate talking to their parents but in this case you have to – not so you can get money from them. You need to ask your parents who to go to. You know how you gossip about your friends at school? That's called word of mouth. It's how adults find out who the best and worst are at something. Also, hit up your online social network and ask what garages don't screw teens. That's also word of mouth.
8. How To Buy a New Car
Why in the hell would a teen want to buy a new car? They're too damn expensive. You're going to need collision insurance, which is mucho bucks for teens, if you borrow money to pay for it. Property taxes are higher. Overall, they are more expensive. Save yourself some money. Buy a used car. Make sure you get it inspected by a mechanic before buying it. That's money well spent and still cheaper than a new car.
9. Driving in Rain and Snow
You know something most parents don't do? Let you drive when it's raining heavily or snowing. That's the best time to go driving – but in an empty parking lot. Find the biggest lot you can – where you can't hit anything – and see what it feels like to drive in the snow and the rain. Hit your brakes hard and see what happens. Let yourself make mistakes just to see how the car reacts. Practice helps a lot for real world situations. Want a quick tip for handling a skid in snow or rain? Take your foot off the gas and brake. It lets your car regain traction naturally.
10. Avoid Road Rage
Edmunds.com again has some good advice. Somebody piss you off on the road? Repeat this mantra, "It's just not worth it." Want to flip somebody off? Flip your middle finger at your stereo. Do something to piss somebody else off? Acknowledge it. Give that universal wave that says, "My bad." Life's too short to blow your mellow on driving.