Produced by Donald Asa and, TrukSafe America, Inc.

Teen Driving Tips 3

You may have heard the statement, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  This is a bad philosophy regarding driving and vehicles.  It is a preventive maintenance that saves you and your vehicle from problems that may be extremely hurtful.  Like, a leaking exhaust or an under inflated or worn tire, leaking hydraulic fluid, so think inspections.

It's the daily inspection that keeps you up to date on vehicle condition, and before moving a vehicle check your gauges.  People that don't, will from time to time run out of gas on the freeway, which indeed can cause problems and even accidents."

It's always safer to plan, to develop those good habits (inspection, taking care of the vehicle) than to be forced into a reaction type problem which could have easily been prevented.

You've no doubt heard the quote, "When all else fails, read the instructions."  Old timers are telling you, "Don't move a vehicle until you know that vehicle's condition either by getting checked out in the machine or by reading the driver's manual and best of all ask the questions.  There are no dumb questions, only a lack of information is dumb.

When riding as a passenger, be wary of drivers who:

  • Jump in a car and drive without checking anything
  • Or a driver who trips on the ball hitch (shin damage)
  • Drives off with door unlatched
  • Doesn't tell everyone to buckle up
  • Doesn't have a plan as to where to go or what route
  • Concentrates on talking instead of driving

Does not understand (by actions) the basics of safety –following too close, speed beyond 10% of the speed limit, is not precise as to speed in the school zones, rolls through red lights without stopping, changes lanes without thought or concern for other cars, and so on

There are also competition drivers on city streets who want to be first at an intersection light.  Be wary of this kind of driving.

Remember people who take chances have accidents.  Obviously, the more knowledge you have the fewer chances you'll be apt to take.

Knowing the equipment you drive is vital.  All of us can jump in a machine and drive.  The drivers who know the machine have a lot better chance of surviving by making fewer mistakes.  For instance, fumbling for unfamiliar controls takes focus off of driving.

Therefore, you can concentrate on practical solutions to what could develop into serious problems.  Such as, getting into a box with no place to go –left, right, forward, or backward.  Simple solution is to back off the throttle, always thinking about stopping distance.  This means space –get it?

Trapped by a vehicle on your left; back off.  Think always about the priority of safety.  A vehicle on your left has a problem (blowout, for an example).  You'll have a problem.  Simple solution; don't put yourself in that position, or work to get out of the possible problem.

Faced with a head-on collision, steer right and brake.  You're much better off being in the ditch than hung on the hood of a Kenworth or Peterbilt.  People generally and instinctively go right, thus someone who has gone to sleep and suddenly waked up will react by steering right.

Certainly, every situation is different, but learning from previous accidents is something that is necessary just for survival's sake.  We have seat belts in cars, because lots of people got killed by getting thrown out of vehicles.  So now we have them.  So, since previous accidents (and current accidents where people didn't wear them) have shown us they can indeed, save lives.  Why would anyone drive or ride in a moving vehicle without wearing one.

By the way, a professional or a very experienced driver knows the seat belt keeps the driver strapped in position, thus being in a positive control position, and therefore survivability has a much, much better chance.

Motorcycle, bike riders, RV riders should all wear helmets.  The reason being your head is good at hitting things when being tossed around.

Heads are for thinking, so think about protecting the future by  protecting your head, your entire body.

When jaws are wagging, brains could be sagging.

Smart drivers listen and learn.

An example, you cannot see what's in front of a truck or van the closer you are, the shorter your line of sight down either side.

Average semi trailer is 8' 6" wide.  Average car is 5' to 6' wide

Tractor trailers are on average 70' long.  Therefore, it takes time to pass one.  How much time?  If your speed is 10 mph faster, that's 15' per second (Remember ½ the speed, 5 mph added to the speed.  10 mph is 15, thus 15 feet per second.)  Starting to pass from 100' back and finishing 100' in front, adds up to 270' which means 18 seconds to pass.  This is only describing the time it takes to pass a truck.

A safe pass is one that's done with thought.

Don't ride with people who take chances.  Imagine being a driver entrusted with the lives of people in your vehicle (kids, mom, dads, fellow students, grandparents) and taking chances.

Don't ride with a know-it-all.  They don't listen.

Check your own knowledge, and compare with theirs as you're being a passenger.

Check your gauges before moving.

Check your tire tread depth.  You can do this with a penny.  Stick one with Abe's head down into the tread and if you can see the tops of Abe's head you're down to 2/32nds of tread.  That's too low even 4/32nds (hair line of Abe on forehead.)  Nothing less than 4/32nds is acceptable for front end safety.

Be smart about tires and tire pressure.  Smart means be aware of proper use, proper care, and understand the money.  Proper care and proper driving habits means lower costs.

Don't be a reaction type maintenance person waiting until something happens to fix it.

Smart drivers are always prepared and equipped.

Carry a fire extinguisher.  Make sure there is one and it's charged.

Practice in your head what you would do in the event of an emergency.  An example, know your driver's doors (any) width.  If you're parked one foot from the fog line (no choice) on a freeway, your door will swing out into traffic.  Get out on the passenger side, or monitor your mirrors carefully before opening your door.

When approaching a car or any vehicle that's in that emergency lane, night or day, stay away, keep a sharp eye out for pedestrians around that vehicle.  Move left or right one lane if possible.

Remember, the slower you go, the more time you have to exercise options and make decisions.

Putting your left foot on the brake pedal costs absolutely nothing and will cut out reaction time – ¾ of a second.

Chain reaction type accidents are invariably the result of following too closely.

Part of the dumb-and-dumber type driving is following so closely that the life, welfare, and future is entirely in the hands of the vehicle traveling in front of the D&D person.

Just suppose lack of attention involves a 2-second lapse at 60 mph.  You will have traveled 180 feet.  You are going to be amazed as you observe other driving, how many drivers are as close as one car length to the vehicle in front of them.

Look and look again before changing lanes.  Signal before looking, making sure there is plenty of room in front.

Don't have a problem (accident) because you think it's imperative to change lanes.

  • If you miss an exit, go to the next exit.
  • If you miss and address, go around the block.

Trading time for safety is the reason for most accidents.

As a young driver, learn the meaning of responsibility first and privilege second.  Put this in your thinking, and you'll survive, and you'll stay out of the Dumb & Dumber class.

Putting the Brakes on Unsafe Trucking Companies