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Automatic Braking System | Teen Driving Tips | Alive at 25 Texas

What Is an Automatic Braking System?

By | Alive at 25, Car Technology, Driver Education

Automatic Braking System | Teen Driving Tips | Alive at 25 Texas

What Is an Automatic Braking System?

Automatic braking technologies combine sensors and brake controls to help prevent high-speed collisions. Some automatic braking systems can prevent collisions altogether, but most of them are designed to simply reduce the speed of a vehicle before it hits something. Since high-speed crashes are more likely to be fatal than low-speed collisions, automatic braking systems can save lives and reduce the amount of property damage that occurs during an accident. Some of these systems provide ​​braking assistance to the driver, and others are actually capable of activating the brakes with no driver input.

How Do Automatic Braking Systems Work?
Each car manufacturer has its own automatic braking system technology, but they all rely on some type of sensor input. Some of these systems use lasers, others use radar, and some even use video data. This sensor input is then used to determine if there are any objects present in the path of the vehicle. If an object is detected, the system can then determine if the speed of the vehicle is greater than the speed of the object in front of it. A significant speed differential may indicate that a collision is likely to occur, in which case the system is capable of automatically activating the brakes.

In addition to the direct measurement of sensor data, some automatic braking systems can also make use of GPS data. If a vehicle has an accurate GPS system and access to a database of stop signs and other information, it can activate its auto brakes if the driver accidentally fails to stop in time.

Do I Really Need Automatic Brakes?
All of this occurs without any driver input, so you don’t have to drive a vehicle with automatic brakes any differently than you would operate any other car or truck. If you remain perfectly vigilant at all times, you probably won’t ever notice that your vehicle even has an automatic braking system.

However, automatic brakes can save your life if you ever suffer from a momentary lapse in concentration. Automatic braking systems are primarily designed as a safeguard against distracted driving, and the technology can also save lives if a driver happens to fall asleep behind the wheel. Many drivers will never need to make use of this type of system, but it’s still a nice safety net to have.

What Systems Make Use of Automatic Brakes?
The primary use of automatic brakes is in pre-crash and collision avoidance systems. These systems are typically capable of warning the driver of an impending collision, tightening seat belts, and taking other actions that can help prevent an accident or reduce the damage that occurs during a collision.

In addition to pre-crash and collision avoidance systems, many adaptive cruise control systems also make use of automatic brakes. These systems are capable of measuring the speed of a leading vehicle and matching it. They can also reduce speed by cutting the throttle, downshifting, and finally activating the brakes.

How to Find a Vehicle With Automatic Braking
Most automakers offer at least one model that offers either adaptive cruise control or a collision avoidance system. Some of the first pre-crash systems were introduced between 2002 and 2003 by companies like Honda and Mercedes-Benz, so vehicles manufactured during the intervening decade may or may not be equipped with automatic braking.

Adaptive cruise control has been around longer, but these systems have only recently been able to make use of automatic braking. One of the first automakers to roll out an adaptive cruise control system that can brake to a complete stop is BMW, which introduced the feature in 2007.

Since automatic braking is so effective at reducing fatal collisions, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety maintains a maintains a list of vehicles that come equipped with specific advanced collision avoidance features like automatic braking, which you can use to identify a safer vehicle that comes with the exact safety features you want.

Source: Lifewire
Author: Jeremy Laukkonen

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Highway Driving Tips For New Drivers | Teen Driving Tips | Alive at 25 Texas

Highway Driving Tips For New Drivers

By | Alive at 25, Car & Driver Safety, Driver Education

Highway Driving Tips For New Drivers | Teen Driving Tips | Alive at 25 Texas

Highway Driving Tips For New Drivers

Driving on the highway is something that all drivers need to learn how to do. While learning to drive can be exciting, the prospect of operating a car on the freeway can be daunting. Once a driver has become comfortable on the streets, it is time to learn highway driving. Safety should be a top priority when learning how to drive on the highway. Keep the following tips in mind as you begin your highway driving adventure.

Always Pay Attention To Surroundings
When driving on the street, you have a tendency to look straight ahead; this is especially true for new drivers. Highway driving requires that you not only look at what is ahead but also to each side of you as well as behind. You should continually be adjusting your observation points.

Remember to Always Signal
The use of signals is important whenever driving but especially so when it comes to highway driving. You cannot rely on your instincts to figure out other driver’s intentions so you must use your blinkers to communicate with other drivers so they know what you are doing and you know what they are doing.

Lane Changes
Lane changes tie into using your signals properly. It is important to not only maintain a safe distance between your car and others but also to use your blinker to let other drivers know you intend to change lanes. Remember to not only check your mirrors but also check your blind spot before making any lane changes.

Entering and Exiting The Highway
When learning to drive on the highway, one of the scariest things can be the initial entry onto the road. When merging onto the highway from an entry ramp, you want to get up to the same speed as the highway traffic. Make sure you are using your signals, and look for a gap in which you can switch lanes and enter the highway. When exiting the highway, use your signals, and as you enter onto the exit ramp, begin to slow down.

Pick A Slow Time
When you are learning to drive on the highway, it is not a good idea to start your lesson during rush hour. Choose a time later in the evening or on a weekend when there won’t be as much traffic. It will be easier to learn and you will be more comfortable with less traffic. It is also a good idea to wait until a nice day as rain and other inclement weather can affect your comfort level and visibility.

Stay In The Right Lane
The right lane is designated for slower traffic and is the ideal place to be until you are more comfortable. The left lane is intended for passing while the middle and right lanes are for driving. Once you are ready, you can move into the middle lane, and then practice passing in the left lane.

Make Sure You Are Comfortable
If you feel as though you are not ready to start driving on the highway, take some more time to practice on the street before giving it a shot. As your comfort with driving on the street increases, you may feel more comfortable with the prospect of highway driving. It might also help to have an experienced highway driver with you; this is actually a must if you only have a permit and not an actual license yet.

While driving on the highway is quite different than driving on a street, with the right safety precautions and knowledge, driving on the highway will become easy. Driving lessons are available for anyone who wishes to have a professional teach them how to drive on the highway.

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Corpus Christi, Agua Dulce, Aransas Pass, Bishop, Driscoll, Gregory, Ingleside, Ingleside on the Bay, Mathis, Odem, Petronila, Port Aransas, Portland, Robstown, Rockport, San Patricio, Sinton, Taft, Fulton, Lake City, Lakeside

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Controlling Your Vehicle | Teen Driver Safety | Alive at 25 Texas

Controlling Your Vehicle

By | Alive at 25, Driver Education

Controlling Your Vehicle | Teen Driver Safety | Alive at 25 Texas

Controlling Your Vehicle

Starting your vehicle

Before you start driving your vehicle, make sure that you understand what the gauges, indicators and warning lights on the instrument panel mean. If you’re not sure about any of them, check your vehicle handbook.

Warning lights
The warning lights let you know when there’s a problem with your vehicle. Knowing what these lights mean and what to do when they are lit will help you protect the engine and other equipment from damage.

The lights will vary from one vehicle to another but these are the most common ones:

  • oil pressure
  • ignition
  • ABS (anti-lock braking system)
  • brake condition
  • water temperature

Some vehicles have on-board diagnostic systems that tell you when there’s a problem with your car. They differ from one car to another. Check your vehicle handbook to find out more about the diagnostic systems in your car.

Starting your car
Different vehicles have different ways of starting the engine. Look at the vehicle handbook to make sure you know how your car starts.

Most modern cars are fitted with anti-theft devices such as steering column locks and immobilizers. These are usually turned off when you unlock the car or when you put the key in the ignition.

Cars with petrol engines have a choke: this reduces the amount of air in the air/fuel mixture that goes into the engine, which helps to start the engine when it’s cold. Modern cars usually have an automatic choke, but older cars may have a manual choke. Check the vehicle handbook if you’re not sure how to use this.

Cars with diesel engines may have a preheating device to help start the engine: if there’s an indicator light, you should only start the car when it goes out.

Moving off safely and smoothly

When you’re about to move off, it’s vital to check all around you to make sure it’s safe to go. Use your mirrors and look all around you to see what other road users are doing and to check the road.

Although your mirrors help you see around the car, there are blind spots your mirrors can’t reach. You must turn and look behind you before you move off to check these areas.

Mirrors – Signal – Maneuver
Whenever you move off, use the Mirrors – Signal – Maneuver (MSM) routine to keep you and other road users safe.

  • Use your mirrors to check around you.
  • When you’ve decided it’s safe to move off, signal to other road users what you’re going to do, eg turn on your indicators to show you’re going to pull out.
  • Maneuver your vehicle onto the road.

Using the gears and brakes
If you’re driving an automatic vehicle, make sure you put your foot on the foot brake before you select ‘drive’ otherwise you’ll stall the engine.

Put your car into gear so you can move off when it’s safe to do so. When you’re ready to go, check the road ahead and behind you again before moving off slowly.

To keep full control of your car when moving off, you’ll need to know where the biting point of the clutch is: this is the point at which the car begins to move. The biting point differs from car to car so when you’re driving a car for the first time, practice finding the biting point before you move off.

Parking brakes differ from one car to another: make sure you know how to release the parking brake. Check the vehicle handbook if you’re not sure.

Dry steering
When you’re maneuvering, be careful not to turn the steering wheel when the car isn’t moving: this is called dry steering and it can cause:

  • damage to the tyres
  • wear in the steering mechanism.

Checking the controls
As soon as possible after you set off, check the controls in your car are working correctly.

  • Turn the steering wheel to check power-assisted steering is working.
  • Choose a safe spot on the road to test your brakes.

Stopping and parking

Slowing down and stopping your car in a controlled way is vital for good driving: it reduces wear and tear on your car, saves fuel and keeps you and other road users safe.

The distance your vehicle will take to stop depends mainly on how fast you’re going and the road and weather conditions.

  • The faster you’re going, the longer it takes to stop.
  • It takes longer to stop in wet or icy conditions.

The stopping distance is made up of two parts:

  • thinking distance – the distance you travel from when you decide to brake to when you start braking
  • braking distance – the distance you travel from when you start braking until your car stops completely.

Anticipating the need to brake will help you brake smoothly and safely: watch out for things around you that you might need to brake for, such as pedestrian crossings or cars pulling out of junctions.

Anti-lock braking systems (ABS) can help you brake safely and effectively by helping to prevent skidding but they won’t shorten your stopping distance.

Parking
Whenever you park, make sure the place you choose is:

  • safe – eg could it cause an accident by being too close to a junction?
  • convenient – you’re more likely to cause damage, either to your car or someone else’s, if it’s an awkward spot
  • legal

When you’ve parked the car, you must turn off

  • the headlights
  • the fog lights (if fitted)
  • the engine.

If you’re parking at night on a road where the speed limit is more than 30 mph, you must leave the parking lights on.

Reverse parking
Reversing into a parking space makes your car more maneuverable but make sure you check all around you while you’re reversing.

It’s often a good idea to reverse into a space in a car park: this will give you a better view when you drive away, especially if you have passengers in the back of the car.

Sometimes it’s possible to ‘pull through’ one car parking space into a space on the next row so you’re facing forwards ready for when you drive away. If you do this, be careful to make sure another driver isn’t planning to turn into that space from the next row.

Parking on a hill
When you’re parking on a hill, you can use the wheels and the engine to make sure the car can’t roll away in case the parking brake fails.

  • Turn the wheels slightly towards the curb: if the car rolls, it will steer into the curb and stop.
  • Leave the car in gear: if the parking brake fails, the engine should stop the wheels turning. (This only applies to a car with manual gears.)

Getting out of the car
Make sure that you and your passengers check before opening the car doors. Watch out for other road users, particularly cyclists and motorcyclists, when opening a door on to the road, and for pedestrians when opening a door on to the pavement.

Responding to driving aids and the environment

Before you set off, make sure you know what the dashboard warning lights in your car mean: check your vehicle handbook and see the instrument panel section for more information.
Make sure you know where to find the switches and controls you’re likely to need while you’re driving such as the controls for the windscreen washers and wipers, demisters, indicators and headlights. You’ll need to be able to use these without losing control of the vehicle while it’s moving. Look in your vehicle handbook if you’re not sure where to find any of the controls.

Lights
Use dipped headlights

  • at night
  • whenever the light is poor, even during the day, to make your vehicle more visible to others – eg in rain, drizzle or mist.

Fog lights
Only use fog lights when visibility is reduced to 100 metres (328 feet) or less. You must not use fog lights at any other time because they can dazzle other drivers.

Flat and convex mirrors
Most interior mirrors and some exterior mirrors are made of flat glass: flat mirrors give a ‘true’ reflection of what is going on behind you.

Many exterior mirrors have convex glass: this means it is slightly curved so it gives a wider field of vision. However, this also makes it harder for you to judge the speed and position of vehicles in the mirror. A car behind you will look smaller in a convex mirror so it could be closer to you than you think.

Changes to road and weather conditions
The road surface and the weather can change while you’re driving so you may need to change controls in your car or change how you’re driving in response. For example, if it starts raining, the road surface will be more slippery so you’ll need to increase your distance from the vehicle in front and reduce your speed as well as turning on your windscreen wipers and possibly your headlights. If the weather changes from being cloudy to very sunny, you might need to pull down the sun visor and/or put on sunglasses.

Accelerating and using the gears

Always try to use the accelerator smoothly and steadily. This will:

  • reduce fuel consumption
  • reduce wear and tear on your car
  • make your driving safer
  • reduce the amount of damage your car does to the environment

Make sure the driving seat is adjusted so you can use the pedals easily and comfortably. If you’re too far from the pedals, you won’t be able to press the accelerator pedal smoothly.

Be careful not to over-rev your engine when moving away (ie don’t press the accelerator more than is needed to make the car move) or when your car is stationary because this will waste fuel and make it harder to control your vehicle.

Using cruise control, if it’s fitted on your vehicle, can help to save fuel because it keeps your speed steady. Only use cruise control if you can travel at a steady speed for a long period, eg on a clear motorway. Check your vehicle handbook for details on how to use cruise control.

Using the gears
Most modern cars have five or six forward gears; older cars may have fewer gears. The speed at which you’ll be travelling when you’ll need to change from one gear to another will vary depending on the number of gears in the vehicle and how they’re configured.

The way the gears are arranged on the gear lever varies from one car to another: make sure you know how the gears are arranged, including how to put the car into reverse, before you move off.

Choosing the wrong gear can:

  • make the car accelerate too slowly or too quickly
  • make it difficult to control the car effectively
  • increase fuel consumption and wear and tear on the car.

Travelling in the highest suitable gear will help you save fuel and reduce wear on the engine.

You don’t always need to use all gears when you’re changing up or down. Missing out gears – sometimes called selective changing or block changing – can give you more time to concentrate on the road and allows you to keep your hands on the steering wheel for longer.

When you’re braking and changing down gears, it’s best to brake to the speed you need to go and then change down into the appropriate gear so you may be able to miss one or more gears.

You can also use selective changing when you’re changing up gears, but be careful not to accelerate too fiercely or for too long in the lower gears.

Driving on hills
Use the gears to help your car drive efficiently when you’re going up or down hills, especially if your car is loaded.

When you’re driving uphill, change down to a lower gear to avoid the engine struggling to give enough power.

Driving downhill, you can use a lower gear to increase the effect of engine braking and reduce the risk of overheating the brakes.

It’s a good idea to leave your vehicle in gear when you park, especially when parking on a hill. If the parking brake fails, the engine should stop the wheels turning. (This only applies to a car with manual gears.)

Maneuvering and steering

Steering
Good use of the steering wheel is essential for keeping your vehicle under control. Keep both hands on the wheel unless you’re changing gear or working another control with one hand, and put that hand back on the wheel as soon as you can.

Don’t rest your arm on the door because this restricts your movement and therefore your control of the steering wheel.

Grip the wheel firmly but not too tightly: you should be able to turn the wheel easily when the vehicle is moving.

The steering lock is the angle through which the front wheels turn when you turn the steering wheel. The further the wheels turn to the left or right, the smaller the turning circle of the vehicle. Usually smaller vehicles have a smaller turning circle than larger ones.

Maneuvering
Being able to maneuver your car accurately is an important part of driving: you never know when you might need to turn the car around, and you may have limited space in which to do it.

Before you start to maneuver your car, you need to check it’s

  • safe – eg is there enough room; can you see where you’re going?
  • legal – there are rules about where some maneuvers can be carried out, such as reversing around corners
  • convenient – other road users shouldn’t have to slow down or change course to avoid you.

You’ll also need to check that you can control your vehicle – for example, if you’re reversing downhill, are you confident you can keep the car under control?

Always use the Observation – Signal – Maneuver/Position – Speed – Look routine to make sure you can maneuver safely.

  • Observation: use your mirrors and look behind you to check blind spots.
  • Signal: give a signal if it will help other road users understand what you’re doing.
  • Maneuver: carry out the maneuver using Position – Speed – Look
    • Position: move into the correct position on the road in good time to make the maneuver.
    • Speed: adjust your speed so you can make the maneuver safely.
    • Look: keep looking ahead and around you for possible dangers such as other road users or pedestrians.

If you have reversing aids such as camera systems or proximity sensors, you’ll still need to check all around you before and during a maneuver: these aids can add to, but not replace, your normal checks.

While you’re maneuvering, avoid using the accelerator, brakes and steering suddenly or harshly because this will make it difficult to carry out the maneuver correctly and you could end up getting in the way of other road users.

The maneuvers you should know are:

  • reversing into a side road on the left
  • reversing into a side road on the right
  • U-turn
  • turn in the road
  • reverse parking

Never make a U-turn

  • on a motorway
  • in a one-way street
  • where there’s a ‘no U-turn’ road sign.

Controlling your vehicle
Don’t reverse your car further than is necessary: it’s difficult to see where you’re going and, while it makes your car more maneuverable, the fact that your steering has a greater effect makes it easier to get into difficulties.

Avoid coasting: this is when your car is moving but it’s not being driven by the engine – either when the clutch pedal is held down or the gear lever is in neutral. If your car is coasting you have less control over it; doing this while you’re travelling downhill will mean you’ll quickly pick up speed, and you’ll then need to brake harder than should have been necessary.

Skidding
Skidding is caused by the driver trying to go too fast for the amount of grip the tires have on the road. Skids happen when you change speed or direction so suddenly your tires can’t keep their grip on the road.

The three factors that cause a skid are:

  • the driver
  • the vehicle
  • the road conditions

To avoid skidding,

  • don’t accelerate suddenly or harshly
  • don’t brake harshly
  • don’t brake while cornering
  • watch out for slippery road surfaces and keep your speed down if you think the road is slippery
  • use engine braking as well as the brakes to slow the vehicle down
  • keep your vehicle in good condition – brakes that are in poor condition can snatch or pull unevenly, which can cause skidding.

If your car begins to skid,

  • release the brake pedal – braking makes a skid worse
  • turn the steering wheel in the same direction as the skid and ease off the accelerator to bring the wheels back into line.

If the front wheels are sliding, release the accelerator and don’t try to steer until the wheels begin to grip the road again.

Different vehicles will react differently when there’s a risk of skidding, depending on whether they’re front- or rear-wheel drive, and on the systems fitted to the car, such as anti-lock brakes (ABS) or electronic stability control/program (ESC or ESP). Check the vehicle handbook to find out how these will affect the risk of skidding.

Engine braking can be useful when you’re driving in slippery conditions because the car is less likely to skid under engine braking than when using the brake pedal. Change down the gears in plenty of time but be careful with the accelerator and clutch, particularly in very slippery conditions, because these can cause skids too.

Towing a trailer or caravan

Before you tow a trailer or caravan, check your licence allows you to do this.

For more information about the licence rules for towing with a car, see GOV.UK.

Remember to check your insurance policy before towing: not all policies will cover it.

If you need to use a recovery service while towing, check whether it can recover a trailer or caravan. It’s a good idea to carry a spare wheel for your trailer or caravan and other equipment so that you can make minor repairs if necessary.

Use your vehicle handbook to check the maximum size and nose weight of trailer or caravan that your car can safely tow and how to attach a trailer or caravan to it. It’s important to follow these recommendations otherwise you could damage your vehicle or cause an accident.

Coupling and uncoupling a trailer or caravan
Take care to couple the caravan or trailer to your vehicle correctly, following the instructions in the vehicle handbook. Before you set off, check:

  • the trailer or caravan is loaded correctly, with the right nose weight on the tow bar
  • the breakaway cable or secondary coupling is properly connected
  • the lights and indicators are connected and working properly
  • the jockey wheel and assembly is fully retracted and stowed
  • the braking system is working correctly
  • all windows and doors are closed
  • the tire pressures are correct, the tires are the correct sort and in good condition
  • any fuel supplies, such as liquid gas cylinders, are secured and turned off.

When you’re uncoupling the trailer, lower the jockey wheel and corner steadies then disconnect all the connections.

Driving with a trailer or caravan
Towing a trailer or caravan will create extra blind spots around your vehicle. Make sure that you check carefully all around you before maneuvering your vehicle. You may not be able to use your interior mirror so fit side mirrors with extended arms to help you see past the caravan or trailer.

There’s a lower national speed limit for all vehicles towing trailers:

  • on a dual carriageway or motorway, maximum speed 60 mph (96 km/h)
  • on a single carriageway, maximum speed 50 mph (80 km/h).

If there are three or more lanes on a motorway, you must not drive a vehicle towing a trailer in the right-hand lane.

Towing a trailer or caravan will change the way a vehicle handles. You’ll need to:

  • allow more time for braking
  • give yourself three times the normal distance and time to overtake safely
  • allow for the extra vehicle length, particularly when turning or emerging at junctions – you might need to take a different position on the road to give you enough space to turn.

If you use your brakes too heavily, eg when going downhill, your vehicle may suffer brake fade – a loss of braking power caused by the brakes getting too hot. To help avoid brake fade

  • change to a lower gear
  • use engine braking to slow the car
  • don’t allow the car to coast.

‘Snaking’ is when the trailer begins to swerve from side to side while you’re driving. If this happens,

  • ease off the accelerator slowly
  • reduce your speed gradually until the snaking stops.

Reversing with a trailer takes particular care because the trailer can move in a different direction to the one you’d expect. You can get detailed guidance on reversing from caravanning organisations. If you can, practice reversing in a quiet car park.

Remember that your caravan may be higher or wider than your car: check whether there are any height or width restrictions on your route.

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What Makes a Car Safe? | Teen Driving Tips | Alive at 25 Texas

What Makes a Car Safe?

By | Alive at 25, Car & Driver Safety, Driver Education

What Makes a Car Safe? | Teen Driving Tips | Alive at 25 Texas

What Makes a Car Safe?

Has anyone ever told you that you can’t judge a book by its cover? Commonly used to warn that you can’t tell anything about a person based on their looks, or what they’re wearing, or what they’re driving, this rule of thumb is also true when it comes to cars.

Based on a vehicle’s appearance, or what you may have heard about a particular make and model, in most cases you cannot judge whether or not a given car, truck, or SUV is safe. For example, if you want to get an SUV because you heard they’re safe, that’s generally true but is inaccurate in specific cases.

There are four primary factors to research and consider in your quest to buy a safe vehicle. They are crash worthiness, vehicle weight, vehicle center of gravity, and safety equipment. But even after you’ve purchased a safe new or used vehicle, the way you maintain and drive the vehicle also impacts its safety.

Research crash-test ratings
Two different entities conduct crash tests on new vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the federal agency that measures vehicle safety against standards it last updated for the 2011 model year. The NHTSA uses a 5-star rating system to communicate crash-test results to consumers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a non-profit organization funded by automobile insurance companies. It has set tougher crash-protection standards than the NHTSA, and regularly updates the requirements for a vehicle to earn a coveted “Top Safety Pick” rating.

The IIHS has also set effectiveness standards for driving assistance and collision avoidance technologies, such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and others. Additionally, the IIHS rates accessibility to Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH), headlight effectiveness, and a vehicle’s roof crush strength.

That last measure is important in the event a vehicle rolls over in a collision. To determine the potential for this to happen, the NHTSA provides a rating that predicts a vehicle’s ability to resist a rollover event in an accident.

Before you buy a vehicle, it is important to consult both sets of crash-test ratings. Sometimes, a vehicle will perform well in one set of evaluations, but perform poorly in the other.

Personally, I assign greater importance to the results from the IIHS. In fact, my wife and I will not buy a new family car until it has been tested by the IIHS, and earns a “Top Safety Pick.”

Heavier is better
The heavier your vehicle is, the better it will protect you in a collision.

Crash-test ratings for a given vehicle are valid when compared to other vehicles of a similar size and weight. In a collision involving a large vehicle and a small vehicle, the large vehicle wins.

Nearly a decade ago, the IIHS performed a special series of crash tests to illustrate how the laws of physics impact vehicle safety.

The organization took three small cars that earned top crash-test ratings, and crashed them into midsize cars made by the same car company. In every test, the larger car did a better job of protecting its occupants than did the smaller car.

If safety is important to you, you want to buy the heaviest vehicle you can. Just keep in mind that heavier vehicles also tend to consume more gas. And they still need to get top-notch crash-test ratings.

Newer is better
Beneath a car’s exterior skin is a structure, or vehicle architecture. Most vehicles use steel for this structure, though other materials, such as aluminum and carbon fiber, may also be employed. These more expensive materials are, naturally, typically found in more expensive vehicles.

During the past 20 years, car companies have made significant advancements in vehicle architecture design. From engineering crumple zones and crash-energy dispersion paths to employing high-strength and ultra-high-strength steel in specific areas, new cars are much safer than they were a decade ago.

Furthermore, newer vehicles typically include safety features that can help you to avoid an accident in the first place.

Therefore, if safety is important to you, then you’ll want a heavy, newer vehicle to drive.

Low center of gravity is better
I know what you’re thinking. If a heavier and newer vehicle is safest, then I need a big truck or SUV.

Another factor you must consider is a vehicle’s rollover resistance rating. Both the NHTSA and the IIHS rate vehicles for their likelihood to roll over. Rollover accidents can happen due to sudden steering inputs, sliding on wet or icy roads and then hitting dry pavement, sliding off the road or into a curb, or a collision.

Check out the video associated with this road-rage incident in Southern California.

In the video, a Nissan Sentra loses control, ultimately colliding with a Cadillac Escalade EXT*. The Nissan spins around on the pavement. The Cadillac, when hit, slides sideways and immediately flips over.

Every crash is different, but given equal circumstances, a vehicle with a lower center of gravity is less likely to flip over than a vehicle with a higher center of gravity.

If you’re so inclined, Car and Driver provides an excellent explanation of a vehicle’s center of gravity and how the publication calculates it for its test cars.

If you’re not edumacated in the maths, know this: the taller a vehicle sits off the ground, the more likely it is to behave like the Cadillac in the road-rage video following a loss of control.

Safety equipment
Modern vehicles are increasingly equipped with safety technologies that are designed to prevent a collision from occurring in the first place. Stability control is required on all new vehicles, and starting with the 2018 model year, every car, truck, SUV, and van sold in America is required to have a reversing camera.

In addition to these mandated technologies, many automakers are voluntarily pursuing improved safety by offering features such as forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and prevention, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert systems.

Some people don’t like these features. Whether because they are uncomfortable with relinquishing control to technology, or because these systems can sometimes issue false warnings that can startle a driver, if you’re not used to how they work and how they feel from behind the wheel, they can be disconcerting.

Having now been exposed to these technologies for well over a decade, I am comfortable with most of them. And the latest and greatest versions work with impressive accuracy and refinement while making it easy for a driver to adjust sensitivity levels, and to switch them on and off as is desired.

Other important factors
Beyond the issues discussed above, you need to properly maintain your vehicle for optimum safety. Bald tires, broken lights, dirty windows, and fading brakes can all contribute to increased likelihood for loss of control and a collision.

Choosing proper seating and mirror positions is important, too. If you sit low and reclined, it is hard to see out. Your side mirrors should show just a little bit of your own vehicle for orientation purposes. Otherwise, they ought to be positioned for as wide a view of your blind spots as is possible.

Finally, it should go without saying that driving when you are drunk, high, sleepy, or distracted is a bad idea. Nothing good comes of that.

What to buy?
Your budget dictates what you can afford.

Regardless of how much you have to spend, choose the newest and heaviest car possible, and preferably one that has a lower center of gravity.

Also, make sure it rates highly in both NHTSA and IIHS crash tests and in terms of rollover resistance ratings.

You are unlikely to find the perfect vehicle that meets all of these criteria. Especially when you also factor in gas mileage, vehicle design, interior comfort, preferred performance levels, utility requirements, and other factors that guide your purchase decision.

Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to emphasize vehicle safety during the decision-making process.

For example, when my wife and I were shopping for a new car in the summer of 2017, we started with the vehicles that earned a “Top Safety Pick” rating from the IIHS, and whittled the list down from there.

Now, when we pile our family into our midsize crossover SUV, I’m not as worried as I might otherwise be about what might happen if we encounter a drunk driver, or get caught up in a road-rage incident.

That’s because as far as deciding on a family car, I’ve done my best to ensure that my kids live longer than I do.

Source: NY Daily News
Author: Christian Wardlaw

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San Antonio, New Braunfels, Schertz, Seguin, Boerne, Canyon Lake, Cibolo, Converse, Leon Valley, Live Oak, Timberwood Park, Universal City, Alamo Heights, Fair Oaks Ranch, Floresville, Helotes, Hondo, Kirby, Lackland AFB, Lakehills, Pleasanton, Selma, Terrell Hills, Windcrest, Balcones Heights, Bulverde, Castle Hills, Castroville, Charlotte, China Grove, Comfort, Cross Mountain, Devine, Elmendorf, Garden Ridge, Hill Country Village, Hollywood Park, Jourdanton, LaCoste, La Vernia, Lake Dunlap, Lytle, Marion, McQueeney, Medina, Natalia, Nixon , Northcliff , Olmos Park, Poteet, Poth, Randolph AFB, Redwood, Sandy Oaks, Scenic Oaks, Shavano Park, Somerset, St. Hedwig, Stockdale, Von Ormy, Bandera, Christine, Geronimo, Grey Forest, Kingsbury, New Berlin, Santa Clara, Spring Branch, Staples, Zuehl, Adkins, Amphion, Atascosa, Bandera Falls, Bergheim, Carpenter, D’Hanis, Dunlay

Corpus Christi, Agua Dulce, Aransas Pass, Bishop, Driscoll, Gregory, Ingleside, Ingleside on the Bay, Mathis, Odem, Petronila, Port Aransas, Portland, Robstown, Rockport, San Patricio, Sinton, Taft, Fulton, Lake City, Lakeside

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12 Tips for New Teen Drivers | Teen Driving Safety Tips | Alive at 25 Texas

12 Tips for New Drivers That You Can’t Learn in a Driving School

By | Alive at 25, Driver Education

12 Tips for New Teen Drivers | Teen Driving Safety Tips | Alive at 25 Texas

12 Unique Tips for New Drivers That You Can’t Learn in a Driving School

Even the most experienced drivers don’t always know all the subtleties or nuances that can make driving easier.

This article explains how to feel at ease when driving, learn to avoid dangerous situations, and become a confident driver.

12. Check if all your mirrors are adjusted correctly.
If your mirrors aren’t adjusted correctly, a blind spot appears. A blind spot is a part of the road that you can’t see, so you may miss a car traveling in an adjacent traffic lane. In order to eliminate blind spots, adjust your side-view mirrors so that you can’t see your car in them. To check if there is a blind spot, drive past another parked car in reverse, looking in your side-view mirror. As soon as it’s out of the picture, you should see it with your peripheral vision.

The rear-view mirror must be adjusted so that you can see the back window of your car entirely. When adjusting the mirrors, you should be in your normal driving position.

11. Learn to feel where the wheels are.
If you want to be able to avoid potholes on the road and not scratch your hubcaps when parking, you need to learn to feel where the wheels are. Take an empty plastic bottle, step on it with your foot, and put it on the road. Practice driving over it with your left and right front wheels in turn. Open the window to hear the bottle crunch.

10. Park guided by your windows and mirrors.
When perpendicular parking, stop once you see the curb under the side mirror. This way the distance between the car and the curb will be minimal, and you won’t scratch the bumper.

When parallel parking, make sure you don’t scratch the hubcaps. Stick a piece of colored duct tape to the bottom of the windshield. Stop once the mark matches the curb line. It’s better to parallel park in reverse: this way, the curb is visible in the side-view mirrors, so you won’t be too close to it.

9. Dry your brakes after driving through a puddle.
Before even the smallest of puddles, you’d better slow down and go through it smoothly without maneuvering or changing speed. If you drive quickly, there is a chance of water getting into the ignition system and making the engine stall. Besides, aquaplaning might start — that’s when a car loses traction, and you lose control of it.

After passing a big puddle, don’t cut your engine, and don’t change your speed. Dry the brakes first: pressing the gas pedal, press the brake pedal a few times. Friction causes heat, so water evaporates from the brake pads.

8. Watch out for the maneuvers of taller cars in front of you.
Watch out not only for the car right in front of you but also for those further down the road. Drivers of taller vehicles (truck and buses) see road situations much more clearly. If they start to change lanes all at once, it’s likely that they saw a car accident or a different kind of roadblock. Follow suit, and change lanes too.

7. If the car doesn’t start, turn the high beams on.
Sometimes in winter the car just won’t start on the first try. Before you give it a try, heat your car battery by turning the high beams on. The radio or the indicator can work too.

6. Lower your rear-view mirror at night.
Many drivers don’t know that a standard rear-view mirror has 2 modes: day mode and night mode. To avoid being blinded by a car behind you, change the angle of the mirror by pulling down the lever under it.

5. Turn on the air conditioner.
Even when you don’t use the air conditioner (for example, in winter), turn it on regularly for a short period of time. Otherwise, the coolant will seep out, and the tubes will be dry.

4. Use the hand brake regularly.
Even if you don’t do angle parking, use the hand brake regularly to keep it alive. The only exception is very cold weather. In such conditions, you’d better avoid using the hand brake so that the brake pads don’t freeze.

3. If a car in the neighboring lane is slowing down, follow suit.
If you see a car in the neighboring lane slowing down, you should do the same. It’s likely that the driver wants to let a pedestrian or an animal pass.

2. Don’t let the illusion of low speed deceive you.
On a straight road, the speed seems to be 2 times lower than it really is. If you don’t slow down before making a turn, the car may begin to skid.

1. Don’t turn the wheels beforehand when making a left turn.
It’s dangerous to turn the wheels in advance before making a left turn. They must be in the initial position. If a car hits you from the back, you might be thrown into the opposite lane where hitting other cars will be inevitable.

Source: Bright Side

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Curb Texting While Driving | Teen Driving Safety | Alive at 25 Texas

Beyond Legislation to Curb Texting While Driving

By | Alive at 25, Driver Education

Curb Texting While Driving | Teen Driving Safety | Alive at 25 Texas

Beyond Legislation to Curb Texting While Driving

Distracted driving has been making headlines for years because it is a serious and growing problem, one with catastrophic consequences. Texting while driving is particularly dangerous because it is a visual, manual and cognitive distraction — all in one. It takes a driver’s eyes off the road, hands off the wheel, and attention away from the task of driving and roadway.

While texting while driving is dangerous enough among adult experienced drivers, it is even more dangerous for young drivers, particularly those with little experience behind the wheel. This is because during adolescent development, teens may have limited abilities to focus their attention and control their impulses, as well as limited mental resources to multitask, particularly when they have not learned how to automate some of the manual driving tasks. These limited abilities may be related to ongoing changes in their brain biology.

With mounting public concern, texting while driving has been specifically targeted as a public health risk, and the focus of educational and legislation interventions, particularly for young drivers. All but one state (MT) has introduced a ban on texting while driving for young drivers, which means that states have increasingly spent money and resources on enacting, enforcing and publicizing these laws. However, it remains unclear if the prohibitive legislation has had much success in reducing the problem or the subsequent fatalities.

There are a number of possible reasons why texting while driving bans have not been effective in curbing this risky behavior in young drivers:

  • lack of enforcement
  • cell phone addiction
  • lack of impulse control during adolescence
  • the mistaken perception that texting while driving is not dangerous, which may be reinforced by seeing adults continuing to use cell phones while driving.

Pattern of Risk-Taking
More and more research suggests that individual differences play a role in teen driver crashes. For example, while teen drivers are at the greatest risk overall, not all are risky drivers or get involved in crashes. Instead, there may be a pattern of risk-taking that explains young driver crashes, whereby those who frequently engage in texting while driving may also take other intentional risks that lead them to crash:

  • One AAA report found that drivers who regularly use their cell phone while driving also admit to speeding, drowsy driving, and not using a seat belt much more frequently than those who never use a cell phone while driving.
  • A recently published Annenberg Public Policy Center/CIRP@CHOP study found that teen drivers who report texting and taking calls while driving also engage in other intentionally risky driving behaviors, such as ignoring speed limits,aggressively driving too close to the car in front, and impatiently passing a car in front on the right.
  • There may even be different levels of risk involved in texting while driving. For example, some teens may decide to read or write a text when stopped at a traffic light or stop sign, while others may do so when the situation is more dangerous in moving traffic or when driving through intersections.

These patterns of risk-taking may be attributable to an underlying individual characteristic or trait and should be studied further so that we can predict those at risk and begin to develop tailored interventions. In addition, it may be more beneficial to promote safe driving behavior more broadly rather than attempting to ban one individual risk behavior, such as texting while driving. This makes sense since teen drivers who engage in one risky behavior are also likely to engage in other dangerous behaviors that can lead to crashes.

Source: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute
Author: Elizabeth Walshe, PhD

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San Antonio, New Braunfels, Schertz, Seguin, Boerne, Canyon Lake, Cibolo, Converse, Leon Valley, Live Oak, Timberwood Park, Universal City, Alamo Heights, Fair Oaks Ranch, Floresville, Helotes, Hondo, Kirby, Lackland AFB, Lakehills, Pleasanton, Selma, Terrell Hills, Windcrest, Balcones Heights, Bulverde, Castle Hills, Castroville, Charlotte, China Grove, Comfort, Cross Mountain, Devine, Elmendorf, Garden Ridge, Hill Country Village, Hollywood Park, Jourdanton, LaCoste, La Vernia, Lake Dunlap, Lytle, Marion, McQueeney, Medina, Natalia, Nixon , Northcliff , Olmos Park, Poteet, Poth, Randolph AFB, Redwood, Sandy Oaks, Scenic Oaks, Shavano Park, Somerset, St. Hedwig, Stockdale, Von Ormy, Bandera, Christine, Geronimo, Grey Forest, Kingsbury, New Berlin, Santa Clara, Spring Branch, Staples, Zuehl, Adkins, Amphion, Atascosa, Bandera Falls, Bergheim, Carpenter, D’Hanis, Dunlay

Corpus Christi, Agua Dulce, Aransas Pass, Bishop, Driscoll, Gregory, Ingleside, Ingleside on the Bay, Mathis, Odem, Petronila, Port Aransas, Portland, Robstown, Rockport, San Patricio, Sinton, Taft, Fulton, Lake City, Lakeside

Port Arthur, Beaumont, Orange, Nederland, Groves, Port Neches, Vidor, Lumberton, Bevil Oaks, Bridge City, Central Gardens, China, Kountze, Mauriceville, Nome, Pine Forest, Pinehurst, Pinewood Estates, Rose City, Rose Hill Acres, Silsbee, Sour Lake, Taylor Landing, West Orange, Batson, Fannett, Forest Heights, Hamshire, Honey Island, LaBelle, Little Cypress, Orangefield, Saratoga, Thicket, Village Mills, Votaw, Wildwood

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What Helps a New Driver? | Teen Driving Safety Tips | Alive at 25 Texas

What Helps a New Driver? More Driving

By | Alive at 25, Driver Education

What Helps a New Driver? | Teen Driving Safety Tips | Alive at 25 Texas

What Helps a New Driver? More Driving

How can we keep our kids safe as they’re learning to drive?

Some think the main problem is teenage irresponsibility, said Robert D. Foss, the director emeritus of the Center for the Study of Young Drivers at the Highway Safety Research Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“That’s wrong,” he said. “There certainly are more issues with impulsivity than among adults, but that’s a matter of degree.” The real problem is lack of experience, and the only way to get to the other side is to have teenagers do more driving.

Johnathon Ehsani, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health Center for Injury Research and Policy, described a project in which 90 families in Virginia agreed to have their cars outfitted with video cameras and microphones, along with other data recorders, from the time the teenagers got their learner’s permits until a year after they got their licenses.

About half of the new drivers did indeed crash in that first year, mostly with minor accidents, and the data, soon to be published, let the researchers look at the question of what factors were associated with a lower crash rate during the first year of driving.

“I personally had all my eggs in the parents-instruction basket,” Dr. Ehsani said. The researchers carefully coded all the things that parents and adolescents had said to one another. “Turns out none of that matters,” Dr. Ehsani said. “What matters was the extent to which teens practiced under multiple diverse road conditions.”

Parents should encourage and supervise practice driving in more varied environments, and not fall into the habit of accumulating practice hours just “driving in routine conditions to places they already know,” Dr. Ehsani said. After all, the minute teenagers get their licenses, he said, they start driving to new places, establishing their independence and taking advantage of their new ability.

“My suggestion to parents is that they think of the learner stage as an opportunity to build a library of experience in your teen’s head that they can draw on when they’re driving alone,” Dr. Ehsani said. “Take different routes, make some additional stops, mix it up a little.”

Bruce Simons-Morton, the associate director for prevention at the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development, was the principal investigator on the project, called the Supervised Practice Naturalistic Driving Study. He said that when parents spend time in the car with their learner-permitted children, putting in the hours of practice that many states require, “they ride with their kids and see they get better and they don’t take a lot of risks and they learn to manage a vehicle fairly well, but as soon as they get licensed, parents stop riding with them, and their risk on average goes way up.”

During that practice driving, the parent is advising on any road decisions, anticipating problems, managing anything that has to be attended to inside the vehicle, but not necessarily pushing the teenager to think about how to solve all these problems without a parental co-pilot.

Dr. Ehsani said that teenagers acknowledge that they drive more slowly, with the music turned down, with their phones out of reach, when their parents are in the car with them, even after they get their licenses.

Thus, he said, “teens actually know how to drive safely,” when they’re being watched, and that is borne out by the efficacy of devices that send information home to parents about how the teenager is driving — but many families don’t choose to use those devices.

Teenagers are at higher risk for crashes for several years after they get their licenses. Boys are somewhat more likely to be risky drivers, and kids whose friends are risky drivers are more likely to drive that way themselves. There’s an adolescent style of driving with fast starts and sharp turns and late hard braking, which tends to decrease with age; some of this is lack of experience, but some may be experimenting with the car, and enjoying the fun of driving dramatically. Still, the typical teenage driver, Dr. Foss said, is driving carefully, and trying to follow the rules.

Mind you, all novice drivers of whatever age have higher crash rates, but for older people, the rates start lower and come down faster. And similarly, talking on cellphones or texting are risky behaviors for any of us as drivers, but the risk increases more sharply for adolescents. There are a variety of technological “fixes” out there that parents may want to consider, from apps to cellphone blocking technology, but no clear data yet about what helps, or what is most likely to be used. And of course, road safety depends not only on your own level of distraction, but also on the other drivers around you.

“Now cars are loaded with distracting technology,” Dr. Foss said. “Something that used to be as simple as picking a radio station now on some vehicles is infinitely more complicated and distracting that what I had on my 1954 Ford when I started driving, and we’re not going to ameliorate that by saying, now don’t be distracted, concentrate on the road.”

But those same newer cars also can come with important safety features, and since most teenagers will drive a car that already belongs to the family, it should be the safest possible car. “Parents tend to put the teen in the oldest car the family owns, which in general is the least safe car,” Dr. Foss said. Teenagers should be driving cars with every possible airbag, he said, and with electronic stability control, which prevents rollover crashes. Ideally, they should not be driving very small cars or compacts, which are not as protective.

If you do buy a car for your teenager, he said, think about safety; “That doesn’t mean go out and buy a brand new Volvo, it means if you’re going to buy a car for them, find one that’s as safe as possible for what you can afford.” The Institute for Highway Safety has a list, updated every year, of recommended safe cars for teenage drivers in different price ranges.

Source: The New York Times
Author: Perri Klass, M.D.

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3 Tips for Nervous Drivers | Teen Driver Safety | Alive at 25 Texas

3 Tips for Nervous Drivers

By | Alive at 25, Car & Driver Safety, Driver Education

3 Tips for Nervous Drivers | Teen Driver Safety | Alive at 25 Texas

3 Tips for Nervous Drivers

Are you recovering from a bad accident that brings back scarring memories whenever you enter a parking lot? Do you hold your breath every time you make a lane change on a crowded highway? Does the thought of driving for more than an hour fill your head with worries and doubt?

Whether you’re a newly licensed driver hitting the road for the first time or an old-timer who can’t seem to get comfortable on the road, there are ways to alleviate some of the stress associated with driving.

Here are some tips to help ease your mind and make driving less nerve-wracking.

Avoid rush hour
Everyone despises rush hour. There’s nothing worse than cars cutting in front of you and rapidly braking as they realize that ­traffic is a reality they have to endure along with everyone else. There’s nothing more stressful than the normal flow of traffic being interrupted or when there are pedestrians everywhere.

In the morning, leave for work earlier — even if it’s just 10 or 15 minutes — before everyone is on the road rushing to work. It’s much better to be sitting at your office desk early than to be sitting in your car in traffic, nervously checking the time as you worry about being late.

At the end of the day, wait until the parking lot is almost cleared out before you head home. There’s no point waiting in a long line of cars when you can give it 20 minutes and then drive without constantly stopping. Avoiding popular travel times will make the drive more peaceful, and therefore, less stressful.

If the roads are always bad, despite the time, consider taking a less congested alternate route. While you may drive further overall, your commute time could still be faster than the time otherwise spent idle in traffic. Current technology means you can never get truly lost, so experiment with roads and see what works best.

Of course, traffic is inevitable sometimes — in which case, just breathe and go with the flow. You’ll make it to your destination eventually. However frustrating it may be, just be patient, turn on your favorite music, and wait. Slow and steady wins the race.

Be confident
Being confident doesn’t mean cutting off other drivers, speeding through a yellow light, or making a risky left turn. It means being smart, safe, and sure of your driving abilities. If you’re nervous about driving for long periods of time, slowly increase your driving distances and push your own boundaries of comfort. Staying calm and confident is key. When you pull back into your driveway after a particularly long (or longer than usual) trip, you just made a drive that might have been scary or unimaginable beforehand. That should be a confidence booster right there.

If you stay aware as well as awake (which is very important), you’ll observe the ways of the road and gradually pick up on safe driving habits without even realizing it. Even if you have a driving record you’d rather not talk about, learning from the past and not letting that scare you away from driving lets you practice and build those driving skills to ensure a cautious future on the road. With time and experience, you can build the confidence necessary to travel hundreds of miles without worry.

Realize the freedom a car brings
When you have some free time, get in your car and just drive. Find a long, open road with few cars around, listen to whatever music or podcast calms you, or even just enjoy the hum of your engine. Get to know your vehicle during this time and relish in the power of controlling where you are headed. Drive wherever and for however long you are comfortable. There shouldn’t be stress involved as this is a time to leave all your worries behind.

The road is yours. Take in the sights and drive without a destination in mind. Without traffic or time to worry about, driving can be a relaxing way to see the world around you that you normally miss. You can go wherever you want, and a car will take you there. There is a sense of independence that your car offers you, so take advantage of it and enjoy it.

Source: The News Wheel

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Teen Driver Requirements | Alive at 25 Texas

Teen Driver Requirements

By | Alive at 25, Driver Education, Parent Tips

Teen Driver Requirements | Alive at 25 Texas

Teen Driver Requirements

Novice teen drivers are twice as likely as adult drivers to be in a fatal crash. Despite a 46-percent decline in driver fatalities of 15- to 18-year-olds between 2007 and 2016, teens are still significantly overrepresented in fatal crashes.

NHTSA research tells us that immaturity and inexperience are primary factors contributing to these deadly crashes. Both lead to high-risk behavior behind the wheel: driving at nighttime, driving after drinking any amount of alcohol, and driving distracted by passengers and electronic devices.

To address these problems, all States and the District of Columbia have enacted Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) laws to give teen drivers more time–under less risky circumstances–to learn the complex skills required to operate a vehicle .

While driver education classes can teach road rules and safe driving practices, they’re only part of the GDL approach, designed to ease teens onto the roadway by controlling their exposure to progressively more difficult driving experiences.

How Does the GDL System Work?
GDL laws vary from State to State, but all GDL approaches consist of three stages, identified by the type of license, provisions, and restrictions. Novice drivers 15 to 18 years old must demonstrate responsible driving behavior during each stage of licensing before advancing to the next level.

NHTSA recommends the following provisions and restrictions for each stage:

Stage 1: Learner’s Permit

  • Minimum age
  • Minimum duration
  • Required supervised driving hours

Stage 2: Intermediate (Provisional) License

  • Minimum age
  • Nighttime driving restriction
  • Passenger restriction (except for family, unless noted)

Stage 3: Full Licensure

  • Minimum age

Because GDL laws vary, it is essential to find out your own State’s GDL law. While you’re at it, check out your licensing agency’s website for the driver manual your teen reads and a parent guide to supervised driving.

Many States require parents to certify their teens have completed a certain amount of supervised driving practice – usually 40 to 50 hours – before they qualify for an intermediate license. Other States require a 6- to 12-month holding period. It’s a good idea to keep a daily log of your teen’s driving activities.

What Can I Do to Make Sure My Teen Follows the GDL Laws?
While GDL laws have proven effective, they can be difficult to enforce. Imagine the challenges police face determining your teen driver’s age from afar after 9 p.m. That’s why your oversight is so important. Set driving ground rules with your teen and explain the consequences for breaking them; then get it in writing using a contract like the Parent-Teen Driving Contract (PDF, 1.55 MB). Most importantly: Enforce the rules.

In a Nutshell

  • Learn your State’s GDL laws using this guide from the Governors Highway Safety Association.
  • Check out your licensing agency’s website for the driver manual your teen reads and a parent guide to supervised driving.
  • Keep a daily log of your teen’s driving.
  • Set driving ground rules with your teen and explain the consequences; then get it in writing and, most importantly, enforce the rules.

Source: NHTSA

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5 Ways To Be A Defensive Driver | Teen Driver Safety | Alive at 25 Texas

5 Ways To Be A Defensive Driver

By | Alive at 25, Driver Education

5 Ways To Be A Defensive Driver | Teen Driver Safety | Alive at 25 Texas

5 Ways To Be A Defensive Driver

Defensive driving starts with you.

It can be a jungle out there on the road … and time-crunched drivers often produce a hectic environment full of aggressive maneuvers and little to no consideration for other vehicles. That’s when accidents happen, but you can be the one that makes all the difference.

Defensive driving involves much more than on-the-spot responses when you’re in traffic. Here are some things you can do to stay ahead of the curve:

1. Plan Ahead
Know what you’re getting into before you even get out on the road. Get in the habit of checking weather conditions, and if you know it’s going to be a wet or icy commute, make sure you leave yourself enough time to make that trip carefully, instead of feeling rushed during your commute and driving faster than you should in bad conditions. Take extra precaution when it comes to making tight turns like when you merge on and off of highway ramps. You should be mentally ready to make those turns extra slow. If at all possible, stick to a lane with a shoulder next to it, so you have somewhere to move in an emergency.

2. Always Scan Your Surroundings
“That car came out of nowhere!” If you’ve ever heard someone talk about what happened during a motor vehicle accident, those words are uttered all too often. It’s impossible to see everything that’s around you all the time. That’s why it’s important to continuously check your mirrors and thoroughly scan intersections well before you pass through them. Get in the habit of taking a quick peek down intersecting streets as you approach them so you can avoid being T-boned by a careless driver not paying attention to their red light. The ultimate goal is to always anticipate where vehicles will be a few seconds later so you can respond quickly.

3. Brake Early
Leave a little more space between you and the cars in front you than you anticipate needing—and brake early. In fact, it’s always a good idea to slow down a little sooner, especially in slippery conditions. Expect that it will take two or three times as long to come to a complete stop after making the decision to apply the brakes. This gives you more room to stop if someone ahead of you brakes suddenly, and gives people behind you even more of a heads up that you are stopping when they see your brake lights.

4. Never Go on the Offensive
Don’t let other drivers’ aggressive tendencies rub off on you. Road rage often starts with one person’s hostility and causes a ripple effect on nearby drivers. You’ll be surprised at how often things can get heated on the road simply because someone gets cut off and then goes out of their way to “get back at” the other driver. But there are several ways to avoid road rage. Just play it safe—play it cool.

5. Don’t Get Distracted
Being a defensive driver isn’t only about being reactive. It’s also about being proactive. One of the best ways you can avoid a collision on the road is by paying full attention at all times. Don’t engage in activities that take your eyes and attention off the road. Using your smartphone is a big one, and this distraction goes well beyond just texting—music, social media, and surfing the web all take your attention away from the road.

Being a true defensive driver means protecting yourself from more than just other drivers. It’s about thinking ahead and anticipating hazards so you can avoid accidents before they happen.

It’s always good to assume that not everyone is paying attention or driving as carefully as you, but your preparation, perspective, and sense of accountability can make a huge impact on whether you arrive somewhere safely or put yourself at risk of an accident.

Source: Geico

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San Antonio, New Braunfels, Schertz, Seguin, Boerne, Canyon Lake, Cibolo, Converse, Leon Valley, Live Oak, Timberwood Park, Universal City, Alamo Heights, Fair Oaks Ranch, Floresville, Helotes, Hondo, Kirby, Lackland AFB, Lakehills, Pleasanton, Selma, Terrell Hills, Windcrest, Balcones Heights, Bulverde, Castle Hills, Castroville, Charlotte, China Grove, Comfort, Cross Mountain, Devine, Elmendorf, Garden Ridge, Hill Country Village, Hollywood Park, Jourdanton, LaCoste, La Vernia, Lake Dunlap, Lytle, Marion, McQueeney, Medina, Natalia, Nixon , Northcliff , Olmos Park, Poteet, Poth, Randolph AFB, Redwood, Sandy Oaks, Scenic Oaks, Shavano Park, Somerset, St. Hedwig, Stockdale, Von Ormy, Bandera, Christine, Geronimo, Grey Forest, Kingsbury, New Berlin, Santa Clara, Spring Branch, Staples, Zuehl, Adkins, Amphion, Atascosa, Bandera Falls, Bergheim, Carpenter, D’Hanis, Dunlay

Corpus Christi, Agua Dulce, Aransas Pass, Bishop, Driscoll, Gregory, Ingleside, Ingleside on the Bay, Mathis, Odem, Petronila, Port Aransas, Portland, Robstown, Rockport, San Patricio, Sinton, Taft, Fulton, Lake City, Lakeside

Port Arthur, Beaumont, Orange, Nederland, Groves, Port Neches, Vidor, Lumberton, Bevil Oaks, Bridge City, Central Gardens, China, Kountze, Mauriceville, Nome, Pine Forest, Pinehurst, Pinewood Estates, Rose City, Rose Hill Acres, Silsbee, Sour Lake, Taylor Landing, West Orange, Batson, Fannett, Forest Heights, Hamshire, Honey Island, LaBelle, Little Cypress, Orangefield, Saratoga, Thicket, Village Mills, Votaw, Wildwood

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