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Information Connection: Tips for teen drivers

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Ask Phil: Top Ten Safe Driving Tips for Teens

by Phil Berardelli,

Berardelli is the author of Safe Young Drivers: A Guide for Parents and Teens.

Parents: click here

10. Don't drink or take drugs and drive. So basic it shouldn't have to be mentioned, but too many teens still seem clueless about the dangers. Or, they think they can handle driving while impaired. They can't.

9. Buckle up. Another basic. A five-second good habit can prevent a trip to the emergency room.or the morgue!

8. Turn in early. Go home at a reasonable hour and you may live to party another day. Most fatal crashes involving teens happen after 9 p.m. during the week, and after midnight on weekends.

7. Avoid a crowd. You know when you have friends in the car, you're going to be goofing off. Enjoy your friends when you're on foot, not on the road. Your risk of a fatal crash doubles with two passengers. It doubles again with three. The same goes when you're one of the passengers!

6. Keep it cool. Don't drive when you're angry or upset. Strong emotions distract you, or encourage you to do foolish things.

5. Pump down the volume. Playing loud music while driving is also distracting. And avoid changing stations, tapes, or CDs unless you're stopped.

4. Know the (speed) limits. The maximum safe speed isn't always the one on the sign. You've got to slow down when it rains or snows, in the dark or fog, or if there's heavy traffic.

3. Keep your distance. You need at least two seconds of stopping distance between you and the vehicle ahead. At 40 miles an hour, that's about 60 feet  more than three vehicle lengths. If you're closer, and something happens suddenly, you're going to hit what you're following.

2. Don't meet someone in passing. The possibilities of head-on crashes make two-lane highways the most dangerous places to drive. Be extremely careful about passing on these roads.

1. Look where you're going. Sound too simple? Maybe. But a huge number of crashes occur precisely because someone wasn't looking. So never move your vehicle into a spot that you haven't cleared with your eyes first.


Phil Berardelli is an independent journalist, former teacher and father of two. He is the author of "Safe Young Drivers: A Guide for Parents and Teens" and "The Driving Challenge: Dare to Be Safer and Happier on the Road." Parents and teens with questions can "Ask Phil" online at


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