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SOUND OFF: What's Your Best Driving Advice?

As teens get their licenses and permits, what's one thing you want them to know before they head out on the road?

When first learning to drive, my father stood me next to the car to tell me about the most dangerous part on the vehicle. He said, "it's the nut that holds the wheel."

According to research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 16-year-olds have the highest crash rate of any driving age group, and the crash rate per mile for 16-year-olds is nearly double that of 18- and 19-year olds.

This suggests that even a couple of years' worth of experience is a significant factor.

While teens will likely have to learn some things through practice, there are some pieces of wisdom experienced drivers can share. Below are some driving tips from Patch editors (as we spend a good chunk of time driving around town!).

But we also want your driving advice. Please add yours to the comments section, below. 

Even before I was learning to drive, my mother repeated a mantra which I adopted when I started to drive: "Your turn will come, and when it does, it will be easy." When I find myself becoming impatient at an intersection that's taking forever, I remind myself that there's no need to rush, and I'm not going to be stuck there forever.

Grahame Turner, Brookline Patch Editor

Be courteous on the road. At a four-way stop sign intersection, it is the norm to allow one car to go through at at time. It's a lot easier than it sounds! 

Danielle Masterson, Woburn Patch Editor

When you're waiting to pull out into traffic (taking a left) and you see someone coming toward you who is taking a right -- don't always go by their blinker. My mom always told me, don't pull out until you see the oncoming traffic fully stop, or you see their wheels of the other car turn right. I can't tell you how many times I've almost pulled out in front of someone I thought was taking a right, only to realize they had their blinker on by accident. 

Melanie Graham, Newton Patch Editor

Always try to let the other guy in. Whether it's slowing up for a moment to let someone make a left turn, or slowing momentarily to let someone get into the rotary or even get in front of you in line — it's so easy to be thoughtful, and unless you're crazy late for an appointment, doesn't hurt you at all. 

Karla Vallance, Regional Editor

Use your turn signal! Please! It's the only real way to communicate with other drivers, so use it often and appropriately. Be mindful of the signal and pay attention to times it does not click off after a turn and manually turn it off so you don't confuse other drivers. Use it in parking lots, on highways when changing lanes, on back roads—everywhere. I promise: It makes a difference.

Becca Manning, Needham Patch Editor

What are your suggestions for brand-new drivers. Leave your wise counsel and sage advice in the comments section below.

Peter Griffin September 15, 2012 at 06:36 PM
To add to the four way stop, always yield to, one, whoever was there first and two, to the car on your right. Also, slow down and stay way from parked emergency vehicles with their lights on. You never know if someone will step out from a vehicle. Above all, PAY ATTENTION!!!!!
Earnhardt September 15, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Complete stops at stop signs and blinking red lights. Do not tailgate (3 second rule) Stop for pedestrians, allow more time in inclement weather, DO NOT TEXT AND DRIVE! stop beeping the horn as soon as the lights changes, and before you get mad at the other driver, count to ten,,, it works!
Grahame Turner September 16, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Great advice guys (texting and driving especially--I'd go as far as to say driving is more important, if you have to choose). Earnhardt also raises a good point about counting to ten. This is along the lines of something I've been trying to do myself: When another driver does something stupid on the road, I try to take a breath and remind myself that--from time to time--I am not a perfect driver (I know, shocking, right?). I make mistakes, I sometimes do stupid things; with that in mind, I'd rather not be judged as a moron because, on a bad day, I make a simple error. I should afford others the same courtesy.
MB September 16, 2012 at 03:36 AM
Always drive defensively and pay attention to what's going on around you. And please, please, pull into the left lane and slow down if a law enforcement officer is making a traffic stop. This is one of the most dangerous things they do on a daily basis.
Stagecoach Davie September 16, 2012 at 09:53 AM
Pay attention to everyone around you - 360 degrees around you. Front, rear, left, right.....all around you. What is going to happen next? Prepare for what might happen, not what should happen. Learn to use your mirrors wisely. And finally use your wisdom not your impatience.
David Chase September 16, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Don't be in such a rush; most dangerous behavior can be traced to impatience.
Sally Collura September 21, 2012 at 12:14 AM
Buckle up! And be sure your passengers do as well.
TheHam October 19, 2012 at 07:14 PM
LEARN ENGLISH. You can't learn to Yield/Stop if you don't know what Yield/Stop means.

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