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The Road to Safety - Driving Tips for Teen Drivers

Receiving a driver's license is one of the most exciting rites of passage in a teen's life. However, it can also be an extremely nerve-racking experience for both the new driver and his or her parents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for 15-to-20-year-olds. In order to help combat this alarming statistic, here are a few tips to help your new driver stay safer on the road:

Follow the speed limit. Driving too fast and driving too slow can both be dangerous. Not only will driving the speed limit help you stay in control of your vehicle, it can also help you save fuel.

Avoid distractions. With cell phones, iPods and GPS, teens might seem like pros at multitasking, but driving is not the time for distractions. Taking your eyes off the road for just one second to send a text or change songs can make a huge difference in your response time for avoiding a collision.

Pay attention to your surroundings. Not only should you pay attention to the road directly in front of you, but make sure to check your rearview and side mirrors regularly. If you're on a residential street, watch for children playing in the road and other pedestrians.

Speak Up! If you're in a vehicle with a friend who is driving too fast, constantly switching lanes, tailgating or not paying attention to the road, tell him or her you're uncomfortable. They may be trying to impress you, and a simple request will encourage them to stop driving dangerously. If they refuse, ask them to drop you off at a safe location so that you can call someone to pick you up.

Buckle Up. According to NHTSA , "Increasing seat belt use is the simplest and least expensive way to reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads." In fact, NHTSA found that more than 75,000 lives were saved between 2003 and 2007 by wearing a seat belt. Taking two seconds to buckle up is the simplest action you can take to stay safer on the road. Plus, it's the law in many states.

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