August is #BackToSchool month, with many Metro Atlanta schools welcoming students back after the summer break. While many students will be taking the school bus, others will be driving themselves to school for the first time. Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group has some advice for teen drivers about staying safe on the road.
Get a good night’s sleep the night before. With homework assignments and extracurricular activities, teenagers can be one of the most sleep-deprived age groups. When an inexperienced driver gets behind the wheel when they are tired, he or she tends to forget their good driving habits. If a parent observes that their teenager is overly tired, it may be a good idea to offer to drive them to school themselves. Drowsy driving causes an estimated 1,500 vehicle fatalities every year.
Leave the house 10 minutes early. It is a good idea for teenage drivers to get into the habit of leaving the house an extra ten minutes early. Running late can cause them to drive faster, get too close to other vehicles, and weave through traffic – all unsafe driving practices.
Wear your seat belt. Teenagers tend not to wear their seat belts as often as adults do. Statistically, young adults age 16 to 24 years old has the lowest observed seat belt use among all drivers. Wearing a seat belt can save your life, as well as the life of anyone else in the vehicle. Be sure to buckle up!
Avoid all distractions. In Georgia, 16-year-old drivers with a provisional driver’s license can only have one passenger in the vehicle that is a non-family member younger than 21-years-old. (For the second six-month provisional period). This is designed, in part, to cut down on any distractions in the vehicle. Additionally, Georgia recently passed its Hands Free Distracted Driving Bill to further remove any driver distractions. Teen drivers should also avoid eating, drinking, grooming, and/or adjusting the radio or navigation system while they are behind the wheel.
Watch out for the school buses. All drivers, no matter if they are teenagers or more experienced, should yield to school buses when the vehicles are merging, turning, or stopping. Teenagers should also be aware that buses may make unexpected stops, and to keep a significant amount of distance between their vehicle and the bus. This is especially true in school zones, where vehicles slow down and pedestrians are more likely to walk into traffic.
Some of the best advice for parents of teenage drivers, however, is to talk to their children about safe driving and how they expect their teens to behave on the road. It is also important for parents to set a good example as drivers. If you, or someone you know, has been injured in an accident and needs help with their personal injury case, contact Atlanta Personal Injury Law Group at (404) 436-1529.