Learning to drive and finally getting your license is a liberating experience. As a new driver, you’re probably excited about your newfound freedom and can’t wait to get your first car. You are also possibly feeling nervous and scared. These feelings are normal and it’s okay to have them. Remember that confidence on the road comes with time, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
One thing you must keep in mind, however, is that the road isn’t a place to show off or play as it can be dangerous.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the leading contributor to motor vehicle crashes among new teen drivers is driver inexperience. The risk of motor vehicle crashes is highest during the initial months of licensure. And this is why every parent’s worst nightmare is hearing that their teen has been involved in a car accident. While it’s not possible to prepare for every situation on the road, you can take things slow to avoid the most common mistakes new drivers make when behind the wheel. Here are five mistakes you can avoid so you don’t become a statistic.
Congratulations on your newfound freedom. You just got your license and have a nice car ready to experience that feeling of independence. But you shouldn’t forget the topmost mistake new drivers make when behind the wheel: speeding. New drivers often have difficulty determining how fast a car is moving.
Furthermore, they are not capable of handling a vehicle at high speeds and, since they don’t know their car very well, breaking the speed limits can result in crashes. Understand that your ability to discern how fast you’re going is something that develops as you gain more experience. As such, driving at high speeds without proper capacities to control the vehicle can lead to an accident. So, try your best to resist the temptation to speed.
Lack of Car Maintenance
Most new drivers have never experienced any kind of car repairs and maintenance before. While some may have performed basic checks on their parents’ cars, staying on top of their car repairs and maintenance still remains a challenge. Most new drivers only remember to take their car for maintenance after a catastrophic system failure or breakdown.
Without proper care and maintenance, that cool car that once brought freedom and a sense of independence to your life can end up becoming deadweight, leaving you with huge mechanic bills. Lack of maintenance on a car increases the chances of failure and can impact your safety on the road. So, make sure you don’t skimp on your car repairs and maintenance.
Buying a Used Car with High Mileage
It can be tempting to buy a high-mileage car because of its lower price tag. Many new drivers don’t pay attention to the number count on the odometer when buying a used car. They end up buying a high mileage car, a decision they regret later. Odometers are devices used for measuring the total distance traveled by a vehicle. It can be difficult to determine the true mileage of many older vehicles as they have an odometer that often “rolls over” once it exceeds the 100,000-mile mark. The good news is that the car seller is required by law to disclose a vehicle’s true mileage to buyers.
Take the time to read the number count on the odometer gauge and compare it with the mileage stated on the vehicle’s title document. You may need to request a title history report if the figure on the vehicle’s titles reads “Exceeds Mechanical Limits.” The reading on the history report can then help you determine the number of times the odometer gauge has “rolled over” the 100,000-mile mark. Lastly, consider researching options for an extended warranty for high mileage vehicles to ensure you’re covered if you do decide to purchase a high mileage car.
Not Paying Attention to the Road
There are many things that rob the attention of a driver and make them less efficient at controlling their vehicle. And one of the most common mistakes new drivers make is giving in to distractions while driving. What they never realize is that not being fully attentive when behind the wheels is a recipe for disaster.
Anything that robs your attention when driving is a distraction. It can be as simple as replying to that message, making a quick call to a friend, sipping your iced coffee, talking to your passengers, glancing at the speedometer, or taking a quick look at interesting objects on the side of the road. It’s important that you pay attention to everything that’s happening on the road when driving. Your safety depends on it.
Not Wearing a Seatbelt
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, wearing a seatbelt is one of the safest choices a driver can make. The CDC reports that most of the drivers and passengers who lose their lives in motor vehicle accidents are unrestrained. Some new drivers find seat belts to be restrictive and don’t see the need to buckle up. Some just forget to buckle up. As a new driver, it’s important that you properly buckle up every time you’re behind the wheel to ensure your safety. It’s really for the best.