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Car and Auto Safety For Teens

Everyone needs to practice safe driving when behind the wheel of a car. Teenagers are of special concern, however, because they have less driving experience. Teens need to keep car safety in mind whenever they drive, focusing on how to avoid distractions and accidents, and how to drive defensively. It's also important to understand the dangers of driving while impaired or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Car accidents can be devastating and the frightening thing about teenage drivers is that drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are more likely to be involved in car accidents than any other age group of drivers. Teenagers are also more likely to be in fatal car accidents than people over the age of 20. Getting into the habit of driving safely and defensively is important. Eliminate distractions while driving, including texting, talking on a cellphone, changing the radio station, eating, putting on makeup, and even talking to other people in the vehicle. When you're distracted, your eyes and attention are pulled away from the road, making it likely for you to make mistakes and miss important situations.

Car safety involves obeying traffic signs and posted speed limits, driving attentively, wearing seat belts, continuously scanning all sides of the car while you're moving, and maintaining a safe distance from other cars at all times. Expecting that other drivers will make mistakes is a big part of defensive driving and helps you anticipate potential situations before they happen. It's also important to be courteous to other drivers, using your turn signals and allowing others to merge easily.

Driving while impaired might involve drinking, drug use, or extreme fatigue. Drivers should never think they are safe to drive if they have been drinking, have taken any type of drug that alters consciousness, or are very tired. Alcohol, drugs, and fatigue can impair judgment and concentration. This can happen even when your blood alcohol concentration is below the legal limit. Teenagers are at a greater risk for accidents with any blood alcohol concentration when compared to older drivers. It's also important to never get into a car with someone else who is impaired. Make it a policy to never drive while impaired yourself, and to never ride along with someone else who is impaired.

Every driver needs to know how to perform basic car maintenance on a vehicle. Regular maintenance is a key part of car safety. Test all lights once per month to make sure everything is working correctly. Check levels on oil, coolant, brakes, transmission, and windshield washer fluid once per month, refilling anything that is low. Changing the engine air filter regularly is important, and you should also check battery contacts and clean them if you see corrosion. Tire pressure also needs to be monitored, because it's natural for tires to lose air slightly over time. Know the correct pressure for your tires, and check pressure once per month. If tires are low, add air at a local gas station. If windshield wipers stop clearing the windshield effectively, it's a simple task to switch them out with new wipers.

Updated By Mark Houlahan