When first learning to drive, my father stood me next to the car to tell me about the most dangerous part on the vehicle. He said, "it's the nut that holds the wheel."
According to research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 16-year-olds have the highest crash rate of any driving age group, and the crash rate per mile for 16-year-olds is nearly double that of 18- and 19-year olds.
This suggests that even a couple of years' worth of experience is a significant factor.
While teens will likely have to learn some things through practice, there are some pieces of wisdom experienced drivers can share. Below are some driving tips from Patch editors (as we spend a good chunk of time driving around town!).
If you have some driving advice to share, add it to the comments section.
Even before I was learning to drive, my mother repeated a mantra which I adopted when I started to drive: "Your turn will come, and when it does, it will be easy." When I find myself becoming impatient at an intersection that's taking forever, I remind myself that there's no need to rush, and I'm not going to be stuck there forever.
Grahame Turner, Brookline Patch Editor
Be courteous on the road. At a four-way stop sign intersection, it is the norm to allow one car to go through at at time. It's a lot easier than it sounds!
Danielle Masterson, Woburn Patch Editor
When you're waiting to pull out into traffic (taking a left) and you see someone coming toward you who is taking a right -- don't always go by their blinker. My mom always told me, don't pull out until you see the oncoming traffic fully stop, or you see their wheels of the other car turn right. I can't tell you how many times I've almost pulled out in front of someone I thought was taking a right, only to realize they had their blinker on by accident.
Melanie Graham, Newton Patch Editor
Always try to let the other guy in. Whether it's slowing up for a moment to let someone make a left turn, or slowing momentarily to let someone get into the rotary or even get in front of you in line — it's so easy to be thoughtful, and unless you're crazy late for an appointment, doesn't hurt you at all.
Karla Vallance, Regional Editor
Use your turn signal! Please! It's the only real way to communicate with other drivers, so use it often and appropriately. Be mindful of the signal and pay attention to times it does not click off after a turn and manually turn it off so you don't confuse other drivers. Use it in parking lots, on highways when changing lanes, on back roads—everywhere. I promise: It makes a difference.
Becca Manning, Needham Patch Editor