Paul Diamond Blow's Huggy Talk
The wit, wisdom, zen, and philosophy of Paul Diamond Blow.

Driving Tips for Teenagers (and Other New Drivers)
Avoid Accidents and Tickets with These Excellent Tips on How to Drive Safely

by Paul Ace Diamond "Huggy" Blow

This article was written with the teenage driver in mind, but is also for any new driver, old and young alike. If you've just got your drivers license and are new to driving on the streets these tips can help you avoid the two things you do NOT want: accidents and tickets. Auto insurance is going to be very expensive for any new driver so it is very important to drive safely. With so many darn cars on the roads today, it is very stressful to take to the roads just about any time of the day or night. I myself have been driving for 20 years now, and I always try to drive safely. The point is to get where you're going in ONE PIECE, not as fast as you can.

So, without further ado, here are my tips for driving safely and avoiding accidents and tickets....

1) DON'T SPEED: A lot of drivers hate me because I obey the speed limits. They curse me as they speed around me, but hey -- I have NEVER gotten a speeding ticket in my life, and I firmly believe that it is foolish to risk your life (and the lives of others) just for the thrill of NASCAR driving on public roads. I actually like to drive 5 MPH under the speed limit. Yep, just like Granny used to do... the number one way to avoid accidents on the road is to drive the speed limit, that means NO speeding. If you drive too fast it is much harder to avoid an accident. There are many obstacles on the road (other cars, small animals, bicyclists, pedestrians) and you never know when someone or something ahead of you will become a potential accident.

2) PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD: Keep your eyes on the road ahead of you, and also use your rear view and side mirrors to see what's going on around your vehicle. If you pay attention to your driving, you can anticipate trouble ahead on the road and avoid accidents. Also, please don't use your cell phone while driving -- you really need two hands on the steering wheel, and never, ever, EVER under any circumstances should you listen to your iPod with headphones on while driving. You need to hear as well as see what's going on the road around you.

3) DON'T TAIL GATE: It is always a good idea to leave plenty of space between you and the car ahead of you. The faster you are driving (such as on the freeway) the more space you should have. You never know what's gonna happen on the road ahead of you, and you never know when the car in front of you might slam on his brakes... I believe the formula for stopping distance is one car length (approx. 10 feet) for every 10 miles an hour you are driving.

4) USE YOUR TURN SIGNALS: Turn signals are there for a reason, even though a lot of lousy drivers on the road seem to know not how to use them. If you are going to turn left, turn on the left turn signal. If you will be turning right, turn on the right turn signal. This way drivers behind you will know your intentions and will know to slow down as you slow down or stop to make your turn. You should also make sure you turn on the signals plenty of time in advance -- NOT just as you begin making your turn. If you choose to be a lousy driver and not use turn signals eventually someone will rear end you when you suddenly stop in the middle of the road to make a turn.

5) REMEMBER THE RULES OF THE ROAD: I personally think Driver's Ed should be required for all people seeking a driver's license. There are many basic rules/laws for driving, and many drivers on the road today don't seem to know them... Such as right of way -- if you and another car meet at an unmarked intersection or four-way stop at the same time, whoever is on the other driver's right hand side has the right of way... If the other car is on your left, you have right of way. If they are on your right, they have the right of way. Simple, eh? Also, stop signs really mean STOP! not "slow down a little and keep going"...

6) FREEWAY DRIVING TIPS: Here are some tips about driving on the freeway. First off, there is no "fast lane" on the freeway. The speed limit is the same (60 MPH) on all the lanes. The outside left lane is actually considered the "passing" lane, the lane you should be in to pass slower traffic on the freeway. Slower moving cars (moving under the speed limit) should stick to the right hand lanes. For safe freeway driving you should stay in one lane, stick to the speed limit, and leave plenty of room between the car ahead of you and yourself. The worst jerks on the freeways are the idiots speeding and switching lanes, this is considered "aggressive driving" and will get you plenty of accidents and tickets. You do NOT want an accident on the freeway traveling at high speeds. Stick to my three freeway tips an you will do fine: stick to one lane, drive the limit, leave plenty of space between cars.

6) KEEP YOUR CAR IN GOOD RUNNING SHAPE! This is an important one. You really gotta have good brakes on a vehicle, this is just plain good sense! A good running vehicle is less likely to break down on the road, which could cause accidents. Basic maintainence includes regular oil changes, tune-ups, good rubber (tires), and make sure all your headlights, parking lights, reverse lights, and turn signals work properly.

7) LISTEN TO SMOOTH JAZZ RADIO! I'm serious about this! I turn on the local "smooth jazz" station whenever I hit the highways... it relaxes me and reduces stress. I save the obnoxious hard rock and heavy metal for when I'm at home...Try it!

There you have it, the best tips for driving safely and avoiding accidents and tickets.And lastly, don't forget to wear your seat belt. Happy driving!

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