There are five old rules of the road that parents may be passing along to their teenage drivers that are no longer valid. Many parents never had to take driver’s education classes, and even if they did, those classes may have been taught two decades or more ago.
Here are five old driving rules and the new ones that can help keep teen drivers safe:
- Old: Hands at 10 and 2
New: Hands at 9 and 3 – experts say that keeping hands in the 9 and 3 o’clock positions gives drivers a full 180-degree turn of the wheel.
- Old: 2-second rule for following distance between cars.
New: 4-second rule for following distance – allows teen drivers sufficient time to react, which they will need because of their lack of experience with driving.
- Old: Brake with left foot.
New: Brake with right foot only – in newer cars, the brake and accelerator are closer together and using left-foot braking puts a driver’s body off-balance.
- Old: Pump brakes to slow down or stop on a slippery road.
New: Don’t pump brakes – modern anti-lock braking systems already do this for you.
- Old: Flash your headlights to signal other drivers.
New: Do not use your headlights to communicate with other drivers – the intended meaning can be misinterpreted and may either confuse other drivers or enrage them. In some states, flashing your headlights is illegal.
So what else can parents do to help protect their teen drivers? Here are some suggestions from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety:
Don’t rely solely on driver education. Spend some time in the car with your teenage driver and teach them how to drive safely. Play an active role and supervise practice driving.
Enforce restrictions. Texas has a graduated license system, so make sure you are familiar with the laws on when your teen can and cannot drive and enforce those rules.
Restrict driving at night. Most fatal crashes involving teens happen between 9 p.m. and midnight.
Restrict passengers. A carload of friends is an almost guaranteed distraction, and an accident waiting to happen.
Require safety belt use. Insist your teen buckle up at all times.
Prohibit alcohol or drug use. It’s dangerous and it’s illegal.
Choose the right vehicle. Think safety, not image. Avoid giving your teen a vehicle that may roll easier than other vehicles, that is too sporty and might encourage speeding, or that is too small to offer good protection. Make sure it has the latest safety features, including side airbags and electronic stability control.
The attorneys of Roberts & Roberts have the skill, experience and resources to fully investigate any serious accident or death. If you have a question about an accident involving a serious injury or fatality, please call 800-248-6000 or contact us for a free consultation.