Getting your driving licence is a ticket to freedom for many young people, meaning that they, young drivers, can now keep to their own schedule and take their friends on plenty of new adventures. For people who live rurally, driving can be the difference between attending events or not, or having to wait for a bus that only comes once an hour.
Passing your test is an undeniable thrill, but unfortunately, it doesn’t mean that you’re exempt from being distracted on the road. Here, we take a look at some of the reasons why young drivers may be more at risk on the road, so that you can make sure to keep an eye out.
Getting used to being on the road
When you first pass your test, there is a lot to take in and think about. Whilst you’ll have had plenty of driving lessons, they’re always with the security of knowing that another pair of eyes is in the car, and often armed with dual brake pedals.
From watching traffic to trying to use a GPS, there is plenty of information for your brain to keep on top of as you drive. Once you’re a few years down the line, a lot of this information becomes ‘background’ information instead – so you observe it, but it no longer commands all your attention.
Taking your friends out is one of the best parts of driving, but especially for those who are the oldest in the friendship group, this can be hard to handle. If your other friends haven’t started driving yet, they may not realise how much concentration it takes, and so there’s social pressure to turn up the music or go faster. In fact, young drivers are four times more likely to have an accident in a car full of their peers.
Even chatter for you and other young drivers can be distracting, as you don’t want to miss out on the discussion – but when you’re participating, you divert some of your attention away from the road. Until you’re more comfortable, only take passengers who you know will respect your need to concentrate, and are happy watching the world go by or just quietly listening to the radio.
When you’re in your late teens and early twenties, there can often be a lot of pressure to go out and have a drink with your friends. Staying sober whilst you’re in a room full of people having a drink can be difficult, and it’s all too tempting to just have one drink.
Whilst plenty of people can have a drink, be under the legal limit and therefore feel fine to drive, alcohol is sure to make you feel more relaxed and this can mean that you might be a little more lax when it comes to driving. Knowing your own personal limit is key – whether that’s one drink or no drink at all. Make sure that you’re comfortable with your passengers’ behaviour too – drunk friends can get distracting if you’re driving everyone home, even if you haven’t had any alcohol yourself. The most important thing as a driver is keeping yourself, your passengers, and other road users safe.