Driving a car can be really nerve-racking when you are first starting out. Learning safe driving skills is an important part of getting your drivers license. These can decrease your chances of being in an accident and hurting yourself or someone else. New drivers cause a very high rate of accidents on the road due to their lack of driving experience.
How-to Learn Safe Driving Skills: Defensive Driving
Drivers Ed Courses
One way to learn safe driving skills is to take a driving class. First, there are driver’s education courses. Each state has its own rules regarding drivers ed classes. Only 32 states currently require teens to take drivers ed before they can take the tests required to get a drivers license. Other states require all new drivers, regardless of age, to take a driving course.
On the other hand, states like Alaska only require 40-hours of driving experience with an adult that already has a license before they can take their license exam. Check your local state’s DMV rules to know their requirements for a license are. Even if drivers ed is not required in your state, it is still beneficial to take it.
Other Driving Courses
Beyond drivers ed courses, there are other defensive driving courses that you can enroll in. Put on the B.R.E.A.K.S (Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe) is a non-profit 501(c)3. They offer defensive driving classes to teenagers for free, because their mission is to save lives and prevent injuries. This program provides hands on training experience to help teach good driving techniques.
As with everything, safe driving skills take practice. Start by driving on quiet, less trafficked roads. Also, you can practice parking skills in an empty parking lot. The more you can get behind the wheel, the better, but make sure you are in an area where if you do make a mistake, you are less likely to hurt yourself or someone else. Over time, the practice will make you a more confident and skilled driver, and ready to hit more trafficked roads.
Keep in mind that although you have had a little bit of practice, you are not an expert driver. According to the CDC, “The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among teens aged 16-19 than among any other age group. In fact, per mile driven, teen drivers in this age group are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash”. It takes many years of experience to become a good driver.