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There are many milestones that people look forward to in their lives. Being old enough to drive a car is one that ranks high on that list. Not only is it a proud accomplishment in itself, but driving a car is also freeing and exhilarating. Not only does it come with newly-found independence, but it also has the added bonus of attracting peoples’ attention. Being a licensed driver elevates someone to a higher ranking position in the social food chain.

The one drawback to having all this freedom and power in your younger years is that it also competes with lapses in reasoning and judgment. Peer pressure is rampant during the teenage years and it can be very easy to believe the fallacy that some of us are immortal. Whenever you’re in doubt about making an unsafe decision, there are some common-sense rules that you can always turn to. 

The first rule is that driving requires your undivided attention, 100% of the time. Your complete and total focus should be on driving. This means having your facilities around you and not being under the influence of any kind, and it also means not being distracted. A simple glance at a phone for a ¼ of a second is enough to cause a fatal collision. In addition, if you are under the age of 21, it is illegal in America to drink any alcohol, much less drink and drive. You are not only risking your life and the lives of others but you are also jeopardizing your future with possible jail time. Marijuana, although become more tolerated, is still a substance that affects reaction time and should never be combined with driving. The same rules apply for prescription or over-the-counter drugs. If it affects your mental state in any way, do not drive.

No matter how short a trip is, or how many friends might tease you, it is vitally important to always buckle your seat belt. This goes for not only the front seat but the rear passengers as well. A seat belt can only save your life if you let it. It’s a very simple way of giving yourself extra protection. 

It may seem obvious, but speed limit signs are meant to be followed for good reason. If a sign appears that drops the speed down from 40 to 25, chances are there is a reason for that. Likewise, just as driving too quickly can be dangerous, so can driving too slowly. Speed minimums are not typically discussed, but you should assume to stay within 5 MPH of a posted speed limit.