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Driving Safety for Teens

Safety at the wheel

It’s late, you’re tired, and all you want to do is get in the car so you can go home. But what if the driver is drunk? The answer is simple – don’t get into the car. If the driver is drunk, it's going to be a long time before it is safe for him or her to drive. To protect yourself, you must find another way home. Ask someone else to drive, call your parents, call another friend, or just take a cab.

If the driver is a parent or another adult, it may be hard for you to say that you won’t get in the car. Don’t be afraid to ask if the person has been drinking. He or she may be surprised or offended by the question, but it’s your right to have a safe ride home. If your parent is the one who is driving drunk, talk to another adult you trust or contact Alateen for help in the future.

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Some of the same advice applies to taking rides from a driver who is fatigued or over-tired. Ask someone else to drive or suggest that the driver stop to rest before continuing.

You may also be driving with friends or family members who recently got their driver’s licenses. New drivers may be too willing to take risks on the road, or may be careless and unsafe. Take notice and don’t be afraid to speak up for your safety or to find a different way to get to where you are going.

Safe driving tips

  • Always wear your seat belt. Make sure your passengers buckle up, too.
  • Never drive with more people in your car than you have seat belts for.
  • Try not to drive with more than one passenger. The more passengers in your car, the more likely you are to get in an accident. More passengers mean more distractions.
  • Don’t drink and drive.
  • Don’t drive if you are sleepy.
  • Don’t talk on the phone, put on make-up, brush your hair, or eat while driving.
  • Don’t play with the radio while you’re driving. Wait until you are stopped or ask your passenger to change the station or adjust the volume.
  • Always be aware of your surroundings. Be on the lookout for motorcycles, people crossing the street, and bikers.
  • Don’t be an aggressive driver. Aggressive drivers speed, follow too closely, or weave in and out of lanes.
  • Do be a defensive driver. Defensive drivers drive the speed limit, follow at a safe distance, and are alert and aware of their surroundings.

WebMD Public Information from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Reviewed on August 01, 2005

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