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Driving Checklist - Helpful Tips for the Teen Driver

Driving Checklist - Road Rules to Keep Your Teen Safe

Sometimes, the best advice comes from someone who has been there. Most adults, such as one's parents, are experienced drivers who can offer suggestions for safe driving.

Or you can take the advice of Ryan Buckholtz. When he was a teen learning to drive, several of his classmates were involved in car accidents. So he created a website,, to help teens become better drivers. Some of the tips he offers include:

  • Always wear your seat belt, and make sure all your passengers buckle up, too.

  • Make sure your windshield is clean. At sunrise and sunset, light reflecting off a dirty windshield can momentarily blind you.

  • Never try to pack in more passengers than there are seatbelts in the car.

  • Make sure your car has gas. Don't ride around with the gauge on empty because you don't want to become stranded.

  • Obey all speed limits for both maximum and minimum speeds.

  • Don't run red lights or stop signs.

  • Come to a complete stop at lights or stop signs.

  • Use your turn signal to indicate that you want to turn or change lanes. Turn it on to give the cars behind you enough time to react before you make your move. Also, make sure the signal is off once you're done.

  • When a light turns green, make sure the intersection has cleared before you go.

  • Obey curfews and leave yourself plenty of time to reach your destination.

  • Don't blast the radio. You might miss a siren or a horn that could warn you of possible trouble.

  • Don't drink and drive, and don't ride with anyone who has been drinking. Call your parents or friends to pick you up if you need a ride.

  • Don't take drugs and drive, and don't ride with anyone who has been using drugs. Even some over-the-counter drugs can make you drowsy, so check the label for warnings.

  • Don't drive with small children or even small teenage friends in the front seat of a car that has a passenger-side air bag. They should be buckled up in the back seat instead. Children and small people can be hurt if the air bags deploy, even in collisions at slow speeds. (It's actually safer not to drive with friends and kids in the car when you're learning to drive because they can distract you.)

  • Don't talk on your cell phone, put on makeup, comb your hair, or eat while driving. If you need to make a call, pull off the road to a safe spot and park.

  • Always pull over (to the right side of the road) if a police officer stops you.

  • Don't allow friends or other uninsured drivers to drive your car.

  • If you feel tired or sleepy, pull off the road and call your parents or another adult to help you.

  • Don't drive like you own the road - drive like you own the car.

Driving safely is crucial to learning the rules of the road. Just remember to be safe, use good judgment, and practice as much as you can. If you do, you'll enjoy driving even more because you'll know you're protecting yourself and your passengers.