There are many basic rules of driving that we all knew when we took our driving test. With time, some of these rules we’ve forgotten. Some rules have been updated since we took our tests. It’s good to be reminded of the safe-driving rules we should follow. If you’re teaching your teenager how to drive, it’s also critical your children understand the current best practices.
So here are some things that might be different, so you can be sure all of the drivers in your household are safe behind the wheel.
Understand where to place your hands on the steering wheel
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that you place your hands in the 9 and 3 o’clock positions instead of the older 10 and 2 positions. Part of the reason for the shift is to keep your hands “out of the way if the airbag deploys.” Drivers should “push up on one side of the wheel while pulling down on the other” instead of crossing their hands when they turn the steering wheel.
What counts as a “distraction” has changed
Remember that old commercial about the luxury car with multiple cupholders? By today’s standards, we probably should not have any cupholders – at least, none that we need to use while we’re driving. Drivers need to be more aware than ever on the roads. This means teens (and adults) should NOT:
- Text while driving
- Call or receive calls when driving
- Adjust the radio while driving
- Eat or drink while driving
- Shave or apply makeup while driving
If you need to make a call or change a CD player, do those tasks when you’re off the road. Even going hands-free, though legal, isn’t as safe as
The safe distance parameters have changed
The old rule used to be to keep your car one car length away for every 10 mph you’re traveling. So, if you’re traveling 60mph, keep 6 car lengths away. The newer rule is a three-second rule. Essentially, the idea is that you should be able to stop your car within three seconds without hitting the car in front of you. State Farm recommends that you “keep an eye on the car in front of you, spot a fixed object that’s even with that car. Then count how long it takes for your vehicle to reach the same object. If it’s less than three seconds, allow more following distance behind the vehicle ahead.”
Don’t over-rely on new technology
If you’re over a certain age, your car didn’t come with many of today’s safety features such as anti-skid controls and “sensors that stop a car before a collision.” Wouldn’t it have been great to have a car, like today’s car, where the software automatically parallel parks your car?? Teens who are learning to drive and adults should still learn how to drive so they don’t skid, can keep a safe distance so they don’t crash, and park without software controls.
Other safe driving tips
- Only pass when you need to pass. Don’t spend all your time in the passing lane.
- Be careful how you use your high beams. Other drivers can be blinded by intense light.
- Always use turn-signals so drivers around you can anticipate your turn.
At Cunningham & Mears, our Oklahoma City car accident lawyers work to show how the accident happened. Once we know the cause of the accident, we then file claims against all responsible parties. Parents should know that they will be responsible if their child uses their car because car owners are generally liable for the accidents the drivers of their cars cause. If you or a family member were injured in a car accident (or a loved one tragically died), call us at 405.232.1212 or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.
Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More