The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent
8 Steps students can avoid auto accidents

8 Steps students can avoid auto accidents

Jun 28, 2021 09:44
Henry Hamer

Table of Contents

Always wear the seat beltNever drive under the influenceFamiliarize yourself with driving rules and regulationsEngage in a supervised practice drivingTrain for driving under poor weather conditionsLimit night drivingKeep a steady paceDrive a safe vehicle

For students and young people, learning how to drive is exciting because it gives them the feeling of liberty, particularly when they are already allowed on the road. However, students and young people also prove to be more aggressive on the road, which is why the chances of road mishaps that involve them are highly likely. This article lists down some steps that students and young drivers can do to avoid auto accidents.

Always wear the seat belt

One of the primary things that you need to do to avoid an auto accident regardless of whether you are a student or an expert driver is to wear your seat belt as soon as you sit behind the wheel. This is one of the primary safety features of your vehicle that can protect you or even save your life in the event of a car accident and the reason behind this is that a seat belt can secure you in position in case your car begins to skid or spin. Thus, expect that there is a greater chance for drivers who are not wearing their seat belts to lose control over their vehicle.

Seat belts also prevent you from being ejected from your vehicle. When you are inside your car, you have a greater chance to survive a car crash. With a seat belt, the impact of the crash will also be evenly distributed in the strongest points of your body. Also, when you are wearing a seat belt, your body tends to match the speed of your vehicle. In this way, you are more aware of whether you are already going too fast or moving too slow.

Never drive under the influence

Another thing that you can do to avoid an auto accident is to never sit behind the wheel if you are under the influence of alcohol, much more so if you have taken drugs. Keep in mind that underage drinking and drug use, in general, is illegal in the first place. Getting behind the wheel when you are drunk or stoned even poses a bigger punishment.

Alcohol and drugs can impair your decisions and control, limiting your ability to function as a driver. Your mind also tends to be clouded if you have taken several drinks, which means that you don't have full control over your body. In this case, still getting behind the wheel can result in fatal vehicular accidents.

Familiarize yourself with driving rules and regulations

When you are a student or an eager young driver, you may be too excited to get behind the wheel, failing to consider that you need to familiarize yourself with tons of driving rules and regulations that are meant to ensure your safety. For instance, you should never run red lights even if you think that you can beat them. Rather, when the traffic light turns yellow or orange, begin to slow down unless you are already in the middle of the intersection. This simple rule, when strictly adhered to, can already save lives. However, since young people are more aggressive, they often have the adrenaline rush to run a red light or a stop sign, failing to consider its drastic consequences.

There are several other driving rules that you need to know by heart before you get behind the wheel, not only for your safety but for the safety of other vehicles and motorists on the road. For example, you need to take the time to check your blind spots or use your signal lights appropriately. Following the rules of the road should come as second nature to you as soon as you get behind the wheel of your vehicle.

Engage in a supervised practice driving

When you are a new driver, you should still consider engaging in supervised practice driving, until such time that you gain enough confidence to drive your vehicle on busy streets on your own. In this case, you can ask for the help of your parents, making a firm decision when it comes to your schedule. With supervised practice driving, you will be reminded to prioritize your safety at all times and pay attention to your surroundings.

Because of supervised practice driving, you will get into the habit of checking your mirrors frequently as well as being alert to your surroundings. For instance, if another vehicle is showing signs of aggressiveness, you should slow down and pull over to avoid it. You will also be made to depend on yourself, rather than on other drivers, to foster road safety.

Train for driving under poor weather conditions

Take the time to train for driving under poor weather conditions because this will make you a more reliable driver. You may already feel confident in driving over dry pavement but you may suddenly feel challenged when you are left alone driving under heavy rains or zero visibility. In this case, make sure to exert extra precaution when you are driving under the rain, particularly because wet roads are more slippery.

When it comes to the winter months with the roads covered in ice and snow, make sure that you keep an extra distance between you and the vehicle in front of you. You should also decrease your speed and go easy on applying your brakes at stops. In this way, you will be able to prevent skidding on slippery roads.

Limit night driving

Statistics show that the risk of a fatal crash is more than three times at night than during the day. This can be attributed to the fact that the road and the other vehicles on the road are less visible at night due to the darkness. You can’t even see what is far ahead and this is true even if the road is well-lit. You also need to focus your attention on various things when driving at night such as your head and tail lights, apart from the route that you are traversing.

When you are driving at night, you need to stay extra focused and alert. In this case, you need to think about various things such as the road conditions, your speed, and position, as well as road markings. Distractions such as your phone, as well as food and drinks when you are driving, particularly at night, should be avoided because this will limit your potential to see potential problems wherein you need to react immediately.

Keep a steady pace

Make sure that you keep a steady pace when you are on the road. As a beginner, you may need to maintain a slow but steady speed. The reason behind this is that fast-moving vehicles or even roads with heavy traffic can make you feel uncomfortable as a new or young driver. Nevertheless, if the street you are traversing on has a speed limit, make sure that you adhere to it as well, not going too slow nor going too fast.

There are also several advantages to keeping your speed down. For instance, there is a greater chance for you to react promptly if you are going a bit slower. The reason behind this is that your reaction times tend to be slower the faster you drive. Rest assured that when you maintain your speed, you will be in more control over your vehicle.

Drive a safe vehicle

Finally, make sure that you are driving a safe and road-worthy vehicle before you decide to get behind its wheel. In case you are getting a new car, make sure that you go for one with a high safety rating. As a student, you may want to avoid small cars, as well as trucks and other sports utility vehicles.

On the other hand, if you are driving a used vehicle, you need to ensure that it is properly maintained because this will guarantee that it is road-worthy. In this case, you need to take the time to inspect whether the fluids of your car are at their right levels. Your brakes and lights should also be working and in proper condition. You should also take the time to have your vehicle routinely inspected by experts to ensure that any problems are addressed or resolved immediately. In this way, the possibility for you to encounter any road mishap because your vehicle malfunctioned will be reduced, if not fully eliminated.

Drive a safe vehicle

When it comes to avoiding auto accidents, students and all other drivers getting behind the wheel should always ensure that they are wearing a seat belt. No driver should also drive under the influence and before you get behind the wheel, you have to ensure that you are familiar with road rules and regulations. It will also help to engage in supervised practice driving. In parallel to this, take the time to train under poor weather conditions to further enhance your driving skills. Limit night driving and make it a habit to keep a steady and predictable pace on the road. Make sure that you are also driving a safe vehicle. All these are geared towards ensuring that you reduce the likelihood of any road mishaps while you are behind the wheel.

Henry Hamer | I'm currently working for Google's Chrome team in Munich, Germany, as a developer advocate. I was a member of the team responsible for the online presence of, one of Germany's largest daily newspapers, from January 2010 to November 2011. I used to work for Yahoo! on their similarly massive European news pages before joining Sueddeutsche. I've concentrated my efforts on the internet, which has turned out to be a fantastic decision.


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