You know when you're riding along in the car, as driver or passenger, and you end up behind a vehicle that has a big, yellow, "Student Driver" sticker on the back? Don't you instantly think back to your student driver days? Excitement for a broader sense of freedom, maybe mixed with a little anxiety about navigating through unknown streets.
It's scary to step out and learn a whole new way of functioning. When you learn to drive, you also learn to work with those around you who have their own agendas, to ensure safety for all.
Whether you have a teenager fast approaching this pivotal life moment, or you yourself are taking the opportunity to become a licensed driver, we have some...
Tips to ensure safety to all drivers, especially beginners
Familiarity is Your Friend
A little role play can go a long way. Before you hit the streets, become familiar with your Subaru. Sit behind the wheel, learn and practice where everything is (i.e. turn signals, windshield wipers, lights on/off).
Pre-program your radio settings so you don't have to mess with trying to find the right one. Adjust your seat to reach the gas and brake pedals comfortable. Check for clear views in your rearview mirror and side mirrors. Get familiar with your particular vehicle's "blind spots", so you know where you need to pay extra attention.
Stop Worrying About What Other Drivers Think
Whether you are literally still in high school, or you're an adult and feel as if your transported back to high school on some days...the lesson we all need to learn is the same. Stop worrying about what others think.
You live in one of the most beautiful parts of the Pacific Northwest, among a demographic that prides itself on individuality. Take advantage of this and learn early that you are empowered to make wise choices and they are good. While this may be a lifelong lesson, it's important to begin incorporating this mindset while driving.
Being confident and secure in the way you drive, following the laws, and making wise decisions, is never worth compromising to appease the immature driver next to you. When you know you are driving with integrity, it won't matter if the guy behind you is on your tail, annoyed, and speeds by.
Let him do his thing, because in the long run, you made the right choice by driving respectfully and possibly saving lives by not engaging in his outburst.
Choose Passengers Wisely
In addition to not worrying what others think - be wise in who you allow to ride along with you. The driver's license law in the State of Washington is very clear about young drivers.
For the first six months after the issuance of an intermediate license or until the holder reaches eighteen years of age, whichever occurs first, the holder of the license may not operate a motor vehicle that is carrying any passengers under the age of twenty who are not members of the holder's immediate family as defined in RCW 42.17A.005.
For the remaining period of the intermediate license, the holder may not operate a motor vehicle that is carrying more than three passengers who are under the age of twenty who are not members of the holder's immediate family.
The holder of an intermediate license may not operate a motor vehicle between the hours of 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. except when the holder is accompanied by a parent, guardian, or a licensed driver who is at least twenty-five years of age.
The holder of an intermediate license may not operate a moving motor vehicle while using a wireless communications device unless the holder is using the device to report illegal activity, summon medical or other emergency help.
Don't give into peer pressure If your friends - especially in high school - make questionable decisions while in the passenger seat, you are the one that will be at fault if anything unfortunate happens.
Be firm in your car rules: insist on seat belts, all hands and feet inside the vehicle at all times, and minimal distractions while driving. And never, EVER, we repeat...NEVER..drink and drive. Earning "cool points" is not worth losing your life or someone else's life over. And really...it's pretty much the exact opposite of "cool".
We at SUBURB SERVICE do not want you or your family to be a statistic, we want to see you grow.
Broaden Your Vision
It's easy to be so focused that you have tunnel vision of only what's going on directly in front of you. But going 40-60mph changes that scenery pretty quickly. Especially living in Washington - regardless of Seattle or Lynnwood, there's wild life all around, and sometimes they surprise you in the middle of the street.
While still keeping your eyes on the road, look further down the road to make sure you are clear to keep going your current speed. Let your eyes sweep left and right, while also using your peripheral vision to best prepare you for any unexpected disturbance. The more you are aware, the more you keep the ball in your court for creating the opportunity to make smart choices.
Remember Your Senses
Let's go back to kindergarten and recall all of our senses: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, smelling. A lot of new drivers get caught up in the excitement by blasting music, driving distractedly, and ignoring things around them.
You need to be able to hear outside of your vehicle for sirens, ambulances, weather warnings, trains, and all kinds of other traffic related sounds. Your sense of smell will tell you if something is leaking or burning, while your sense of touch will tell you if something is rattling or bursting.
Stay tuned in to your senses, and don't sabotage yourself by blocking them. Living in the Pacific Northwest is a prime environment for driving with the windows down and enjoying the fresh air we get to breathe in every day. Of course you can listen to music, but when you can hear the music 3 cars over, it's too loud.
We love promoting safe driving as much as we love Subarus. You can enjoy your amazing ride even more when you're safe and healthy. As always, when your Subaru needs some support to encourage your continued safe driving, click here to schedule an appointment at Suburb Service, or call (206) 705-8695 to reach our Seattle location.