By Oliver Weiss, August 3, 2018 It's that time of the year again. Along with the rush to stock up on school supplies and some new duds, there are many newly licensed teenagers who are responsible for driving themselves to school for the first time. If you're among that number of new drivers, following these back to school driving tips will make it easier for you to have a safe, successful school year.
1. Leave plenty of time to get from point A to point B
You've got your license. Congratulations! You no longer have to get up at the crack of dawn to get on the bus or go on a cold morning walk or bike ride to get to school. You're a new driver and although you might save some time, you shouldn't wait until the last minute to head off to school.
By leaving early, you'll avoid the stressful last-minute rush and decrease the amount of traffic you have to deal with. Also, an unexpected accident or traffic on the road won't make you late for school. You might have to spare a few minutes of sleep, but avoiding a stressful morning rush to school will be a much better start to your day.
2. Wait for a few minutes after school
If you're worried or nervous about navigating the parking lot, don't go dashing off to your car as soon as the bell rings. Most people think that's the quickest way to leave school and the best way to avoid the after school traffic, but in reality, it's not. With everyone trying to leave right as school ends, it can cause a lot of traffic and can be quite hectic.
Within a few minutes, the parking lot will clear out considerably, and you won't have to fight nearly as much traffic to get out. Simply take your time to get to your car, and you’ll get home quickly without any headaches.
3. Don't multitask
This goes for even the most experienced drivers. Don’t put on makeup, check your phone, or flip open a book to check on a homework assignment when you're driving — especially first thing in the morning when you're still sleepy. While eating in the car or sending a quick text may seem easy to do while driving, you only need to be distracted for a moment for something to go wrong. Remember, you share the road, so keep it a safe place.
4. Go solo until you've built driving confidence
Sure, it sounds cool to be able to give your friends a ride or from school. But being a nervous driver is never a fun thing and your friend could end up being a distraction to you. Save it for when you have some practice under your belt.
It's also smart to know your state's law is on having passengers under the age of 25 with you, as many states give you a waiting period until you can officially drive anyone. If you're lacking driving confidence or aren't past your given waiting period, pass on picking up the crew
5. Keep an eye on your gas gauge
When possible, fill up after school, not before — and don't wait until your tank hits empty. In the moment, it can seem like a pain to go get gas after school when all you want to do is go home and relax, but it goes a long way toward helping you be prepared for the next day. The last thing you want is to end up stranded when you're already running late.
6. Plan your route on the first day
Before the first day of school, take the time to look over the school parking lot, check out traffic patterns, and plan how you'll get in and out of school each day. Maybe even take a few trips there and back to get comfortable with your route. It's best to not have any unwanted surprises when you're first driving to school. Reviewing the route will help make the transition smoother.
7. Leave plenty of room on the road
Remember that many of your peers are also new drivers, and some aren't as informed as you. When you're in the school parking lot, allow plenty of room for other drivers. Some people might have some trouble parking or with a certain driving maneuver, so give them time and space to figure it out.
8. Slow your roll
You may want to just rush and get where you're going already, but that's never a good idea. Take the drive at a pace that is safe and that you're comfortable with. Speeding is a component in most accidents, so it's a lot safer to drive the speed limit and arrive a minute or two later. This is where leaving early can come in handy.
9. Give you car a last-minute check
The last thing you want going to school is to have a warning light pop up on your dash or maybe a flat tire. Be safe and give your car a quick check a day or two before your first day of school — better safe than sorry.
Driving your car to school for the first time is a huge milestone, and you should feel great for getting such an awesome opportunity. By following these back-to-school driving tips, you'll find that you're able to enjoy it more and keep yourself safer — and that makes both us and mom and dad happy!