August 3, 2015 - 2:39pm -- Anonymous

With all of the wet weather this year – for many it seems like summer has only just begun.  However, in a couple of weeks school will be back in session, which means many teens may be having their final summer fun before getting back into the routine of school. Since car crashes are the number one cause of teenage deaths, now is always a good time to remind teens about some simple but important safe-driving tips.

Simple but Crucial

  • Obey the speed limits. Going too fast gives you less time to stop or react. Excess speed is one of the main causes of teenage accidents.
  • Always wear your seat belt – and make sure all passengers buckle up, too. Don’t try to fit more people in the car than you have seat belts for them to use.
  • Don’t text while driving or have too many passengers in the vehicle as distractions of any kind can cause an accident.
  • Make sure your windshield is clean. At sunrise and sunset, light reflecting off your dirty windshield can momentarily blind you from seeing what’s going on.

Consider Other Drivers

  • Don’t make assumptions about what other drivers are going to do. The only thing you can assume about another driver with a turn signal on is that they have a turn signal on. He/she might not be turning at all, and just forgot to turn it off.
  • Watch out for aggressive drivers, and try to stay out of their way. They are the cause of a lot of accidents – especially on freeways.
  • Never pull out in front of anyone or swerve into someone else’s lane.

Constant Awareness

  • Make sure your car always has gas in it – don’t ride around with the gauge on empty.
  • If you’re in the country, watch out for deer and other animals.  If you see an animal approaching, slow down and flash your lights repeatedly. Dusk and dawn are particularly bad times for running into animals, so be on the lookout for them.
  • When the light turns green, make sure the intersection clears before you go.

These tips and more are available on-line at teendriving.com.  Wayne County 4-H offers an educational program called CARTEENS for first-time juvenile traffic offenders in partnership with the Wayne County Juvenile Court.  For more information, contact me at the Extension Office.