College students have a bad reputation as drivers, and it’s unsurprising why: the leading cause of death for teenagers is car accidents. Because of statistics like this, young people have very high insurance premiums, and that can be hard to afford. Parents also tend to be very worried that their kids will be hurt while driving, especially once they leave home.
How can you stay safe and set your parents’ mind at ease when driving? While your mom will always worry, these 3 practices can make you one of the most reliable young drivers on the road.
Turn Off Your Phone
Distracted driving is a very common problem among college students – it’s just hard to put your phone down. While you’re driving, fight the urge to chat or text, even at stop lights, by turning your phone off or setting it to do not disturb mode. Be especially careful about texting – dialing a phone to make a call nearly triples the likelihood of an accident, but drivers who are texting are over 23 times more likely to be in an accident. Distracted drivers are a danger to themselves and their passengers and a risk to everyone else on the road.
Know Your Safety Features
Many college students own used cars, which is great from a financial standpoint, but not always ideal when it comes to safety. Make sure you’re familiar with your car’s particular safety features, such as whether or not it has side airbags and how many seatbelts are in your car. Some small cars don’t have a third seatbelt in the back; if your car doesn’t have one, keep your car at capacity. Just because you can fit a third person in the back, doesn’t mean you should when they can’t ride safely.
Take A Class
Sure, you might have only finished driver’s ed a few years ago, but that’s not the only class available to drivers. You can take refresher courses if you haven’t driven much since getting your license or even schedule a special highway driving class if you’ll be doing more long distance trips now that you’re out on your own.
Another useful class to consider is a defensive driving course. These classes are meant to teach you important driving strategies for avoiding accidents and they go above and beyond the basics learned in driver’s ed. Much of the time you can even get a discount on your insurance premium if you take a defensive driving class and present your insurer with evidence of completion.
Having a car as a college student can provide a lot of freedom, make it easier to live off campus, and even free up your parents when you need to come home from break, but you have to prove your responsible enough to drive without supervision. Follow the laws, drive smart, and put safety first whenever you’re behind the wheel and you’ll be on the road to success.