Things New Drivers Should Avoid
A lot of drivers get into car accidents or get a ticket just for doing things they never knew they shouldn’t but are easily preventable. This article will give you tips for things new drivers should avoid, winter driving tips, and a few laws you should know about while driving in Virginia. Let’s make the roads a little safer for everyone.
In the excitement of being a new driver, there may be some simple things you do that can get you into trouble, or in an accident, just because you didn’t know about them. To keep you and other drivers safe on the road, get to know these things that new drivers should avoid.
- Using a mobile phone or other distractions
Turning off and putting away your mobile phone is one of the most important things to think about before you start driving. These days, everyone is used to having their phone available 24/7, but your safety and the law are more important than texting someone back right away! Putting away anything else that can distract you while you drive is also very important in keeping yourself, and others, safe on the road.
- Going to fast or too slow
Speed limits are posted because they are the speeds determined to be safe on that particular roadway; they aren’t there for no reason. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, going fast or too slow increases your likelihood of being involved in a car accident. Everyone going to same speed makes the roads safer, so stick to the limits set by your state.
- Leaving your seatbelt unbuckled
It may seem like not wearing a seatbelt isn’t a big deal, but it really is. Although there are airbags in cars, they are not made to work alone and do not deploy in most situations where a seatbelt comes in handy. You can stop a little too fast one day and you or your passenger may end up hitting their head on the windshield! A lot of accidents also happen when you’re going somewhere close to home, even at slow speeds, so just going around the corner is not a reason to not buckle up.
Winter Driving Tips
If you’ve never driven in the winter before, you could be in for a surprise; even experienced drivers have trouble in winter conditions. To keep everyone safe, adapt your driving to the conditions you are in. Here are some helpful tips for driving in winter weather:
- Prepare your vehicle for the winter
You should do these things anyway for regular maintenance, but they are especially important to have done in dangerous winter conditions. It is recommended that you make sure your antifreeze, thermostat, brakes, tires, windshield wipers, de-icing fluid, lights, and oil are all checked and ready to go before you head out on winter roads. Something that some people may not think of is lubricating your doors and locks so that they are less likely to freeze shut in extremely cold conditions.
- Always clear the snow
It may seem common sense to clear the snow from your car, but some may not be doing it properly. The windows and mirrors are a no-brainer, but you should also clear your car’s roof, hood, and trunk. Snow from the hood can fly up and obstruct your view, and snow from the roof can fall and make it impossible to see through your windshield. To prevent these dangerous situations, make sure you clear all the snow from your car.
- Leave a few minutes early
Driving in the winter can take a lot longer than when there’s no snow on the ground. Everyone needs to go slower to prevent accidents on the snow and ice, which will make your trip take longer than you think. Leaving 15 to 20 minutes early is a good strategy to getting where you need to go safely and on time in the winter.
Virginia Driving Laws You Want Know
- Mobile devices are banned for those under 18
Nobody is allowed to text for hold a phone while you talk on it while driving, but drivers under 18 years old cannot use a phone in hands-free mode either. But it is always safest to turn your phone off anyway. According to the DMV, texting for anyone in Virginia can give you a $125 fine, and $250 for a subsequent offense.
- You must use your headlights under these conditions
It is the law in Virginia that you must turn your headlights on between sunset and sunrise, because it’s dark of course. You also need to turn them on when you cannot see 500 feet ahead of your vehicle, and when you are using your windshield wipers.
- Don’t follow too closely
Following too closely behind another vehicle is an action that can be met with a citation and possibly a fine. This is because it’s dangerous to be close behind in case of emergency and sudden stops. This is not only for cars! You can also be cited for following mopeds, bikes, and other vehicles (even non-motorized) too closely.
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