Driving, like any skill, improves with consistent practice. Nevada’s driving requirements for teens are fairly minimal—basically, 50 hours supervised behind the wheel when a teen has a permit. During those 50 hours, a teen can get familiar with a vehicle and the basics of parking and changing lanes but probably not much else. Instead, new drivers will learn most of their skills after they get a license.
At Ladah Law, we are passionate about highway safety. We have seen the devastation that accidents can bring and want to encourage new drivers and their parents to make driver safety a priority. Below, we highlight some of the common pitfalls new drivers face and offer tips for how to avoid them.
Those on bicycles have as much a right to the road as other motor vehicles, yet few new drivers are aware of that fact. For this reason, it is very common for motorists to slam into a bicyclist, particularly at intersections.
By not seeing that cyclist, drivers increase the risk of accident. Instead, tell your new driver to focus particularly for those on bicycles and to give them enough room if they intend to pass the cyclist out on the road.
Every vehicle has a blind spot, and though motorists can reduce it by adjusting their mirrors properly, few do. There is a definite risk that a new driver will hit someone when changing lanes on the freeway.
There is also a big risk of hitting motorcyclists. Many motorcycles are brown or black and blend in with either the road or with other vehicles. As a result, some new drivers are unaware of their presence and end up either hitting or crossing lanes into a motorcyclist. Tell your new driver to keep their eyes peeled for those on a motorcycle and to always check over their shoulder before changing lanes.
A right turn on a red light is allowed in Nevada. However, young drivers often think that they only need to watch for oncoming traffic. In reality, they also must look for pedestrians who are crossing the street. More than one young driver has hit the accelerator to make a right-hand turn only to slam straight into pedestrians who were just stepping into the crosswalk.
Help a young driver by reminding her to come to a full stop, not a rolling stop, when making a right turn on red. Coming to a full rest allows the driver to check for both oncoming traffic and whether pedestrians are either in the crosswalk or about to enter it. The driver should only pull into traffic when confident that all is clear.
What would teens do without their phones? Although phones offer tremendous convenience—you never have to wonder where they are—phones also are a prime distraction when driving. Too many teens are checking Instagram, Facebook, VSCO, Facetime, or any of the other dozens of social media sites when their vehicle is in motion. Sending or reading texts while driving is also a problem.
To limit phone use while driving, consider installing an app. AT&T’s Drive Mode app, for example, will silence any notifications once your teen starts driving, which is an excellent way to keep them focused on the road. Find an app that works for you and talk to your young driver about why you are installing it on the phone.
Some teens are completely unaware that they are even driving too closely to other vehicles. Remind them that there should be at least a two-second cushion between them and the car ahead. Anything less increases the risk of a rear-end collision if the car up ahead needs to pump the brakes.
If you are riding with a new driver, show him or her how to count out two seconds so that they will have an adequate amount of space.
Some new drivers literally freeze when they encounter a new, scary situation. Unable to respond, they end up getting into accidents because they can’t take defensive action or conversely make a sudden, dramatic movement.
Sometimes this happens when driving in inclement weather and the driver begins to hydroplane, which can happen when liquid builds up underneath the tires. New drivers need to be prepared for how to respond in an instant.
One thing you can do is have them take a defensive driving course, where they can practice driving in wet weather. These courses allow them to get more comfortable actually controlling the vehicle in difficult conditions.
Life is stressful, particularly for young people. Some new drivers might be behind the wheel with very little sleep. Nevada has tried to address this problem by prohibiting those under 18 from driving between 10:00 pm and 5:00 am unless they are traveling to or from work or school. However, with the way that young people sleep, it is very possible that they could still be exhausted even if driving during the day.
Avoiding this problem might be as easy as getting enough sleep at night. However, using caffeine or NO-DOZ is often a crutch that can be deadly. These supplements only mask the symptoms of fatigue, they don’t do much for remedying the underlying slowed reflexes and poor judgment. Encourage your young driver not to drive when exhausted.
Probably the best way to avoid common pitfalls is for adults to model responsible driving habits to their children. However, accidents will continue to happen. If you were hit by a new driver, then you might have a legitimate claim for compensation for any injuries.
Please contact Ladah Law today. We have years of experience helping accident victims negotiate a settlement or file a lawsuit in court. To schedule a free consultation with one of our Las Vegas car accident lawyers, please call 702-252-0055 today.
…Ramzy took over and he and his staff did just a wonderful job. They got me more money than I thought that I would get… I was just very pleased and would recommend them to anyone else.