Getting your driver's license is a step towards adulthood and freedom. However, in 2019, there were more than 38 crashes every single day in Tennessee that involved a driver under 18. Young drivers are less experienced and more likely to engage in risky behavior.
So, how can you avoid being part of that statistic?
Wear Your Seatbelt
You must wear a seatbelt at all times when driving. You're also responsible for making sure that any passengers you have are belted in. You are, not them! Don't let anyone ride in your car without being belted in.
If you are smaller and find seatbelts uncomfortable, say, they dig in to your neck, and you can't adjust the belt to prevent this, a comfort clip can help...this lowers the shoulder strap slightly. Do not put your seatbelt under your arm.
Put Away Your Phone
Texting and driving is illegal in Tennessee, and so is talking and driving without a hands-free device. Use your phone only if you need it for the GPS or to play music if that helps you stay focused. Do not answer calls or texts until you have reached your destination or pulled over to take a break. People should respect that you are unavailable while driving.
Reduce Your Number of Passengers
Sure, you want to take all of your friends with you, but don't. If you have an intermediate restricted driving license you cannot have more than one passenger unless you have an adult driver with you or they are all your siblings and you are driving them to and from school, and only school. There's a good reason for this; teenage drivers engage in more risky activities when their friends are watching.
Even when you have your full license, think. If certain people in your car make you more likely to speed, then don't do it. It's hard to say no to your friends, but it's harder to get them into a wreck.
Avoid Audio Books, Etc
Some people find music helps them focus. Many don't. Audio books, podcasts, and other "voice-based" stuff is distracting for most of us. Until you have a lot more experience on the road, avoid listening to these things while driving.
Don't Drive While Drunk
If you're under 21, you shouldn't be drinking anyway, but even if you are older than that, don't drive while intoxicated. Ideally, don't drive after consuming any amount of alcohol.
Alcohol doesn't just impair your judgment, it impairs your ability to judge whether your judgment is impaired. Also don't drive after using marijuana. If you are on prescription medications, don't drive until you know how they will affect you.
Don't Drive While Tired
If you just pulled an all-nighter, don't drive. If you've been up for thirty hours, that's the same level of impairment as being drunk. If you didn't sleep well, try not to drive.
Don't use coffee, energy drinks, caffeinated soda, etc, to deal with fatigue. You may feel better, but you might still be impaired. If you think you're going to fall asleep at the wheel, pull over. Call for rescue or take a nap.
Avoid Other Distractions
Some other things that can distract you from driving include:
· Eating or drinking
· Applying makeup
· Changing the radio station
Also try not to drive if you are emotionally upset. Internal distractions can also make it harder to drive safely.
Obey the Law
Finally, traffic laws are annoying, but they are there for a reason. Always obey the law. This includes abiding by speed limits (drive slower at night or in inclement weather), moving over for emergency vehicles, slowing down in construction zones, etc.
Familiarize yourself with Tennessee's driving laws, whether they apply to young drivers or to everyone. If you do this, then likely if you do end up in a wreck, it won't be your fault. If so, contact Fox & Farmer to schedule a free consultation and help you get compensation for any injuries that might have happened.
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Fox & Farmer Attorneys At Law. Knoxville Personal Injury Attorneys Serving East Tennessee Including Knoxville, Chattanooga, and the Tri-Cities.