When you’re a kid, there’s nothing more exciting than growing up. However, as parents, we know that growing up also comes with a lot of responsibility. While your teen may be eager to get their license and enjoy the freedom of the open road, there are a few key factors teens and their parents alike have to keep in mind. When you’re ready to surprise your child with their first vehicle, stop by Southern California Ford Dealers to find a stylish, reliable vehicle your first-time driver can make memories in.
Here are five things all first-time drivers in California should know:
Understanding Road Signs Can Increase Your Safety
Road signs are meant to help make driving easier, but for new drivers, these signs sometimes make things more confusing. “Lane Ends” and “Divided Highway” signs are common in California, among others that ask drivers to stop and yield to oncoming traffic or pedestrians. While road signs will be a part of your child’s driving test, be sure to go over all of them with them before they head out onto the road.
If you’re a new driver who comes across a road sign you’re unsure of, always exercise caution and slow your speed so you can keep an eye on your surroundings. Or, if it’s safe, pull off into a store parking lot to Google what it means so you know how to proceed. California has the highest rate of fatal accidents involving teens, so understanding what every sign means and what you need to do is crucial.
Communicating With Traffic Helps Prevent Accidents
And no, this doesn’t mean with your cell phone. Using your cell phone while you’re driving is against the law in California anyway. Even though it may not seem like it, drivers are constantly communicating with one another on the road. Since people aren’t psychic, they can’t predict what another driver is going to do unless they have the proper signs to work off. This is why drivers use their turning signal, brakes, and even hand gestures when their lights are out, to signal to other drivers what their next move is going to be. Because of this, you always have to stay on top of your vehicle’s ongoing maintenance to make sure your headlights, brake lights, and turn signals are working.
Oftentimes, these are easy to notice. If your headlights are out, either one or both of your lights will be out or you won’t be able to turn on your high beams. If your turning signal isn’t working, the switch will usually blink faster or slower than normal. And if your brake lights are out, your car may not even turn on.
If one of these goes out while you’re driving, be mindful of hand signals that can tell other cars which direction you need to go in and when you need to make a right- or left-hand turn.
Maintaining a Safe Following Distance is Important
Drivers are usually taught the three-second rule when it comes to maintaining a safe following distance from the vehicle ahead of them. This rule states that if the car ahead of you drives past a telephone pole, you should reach the same pole approximately three seconds later. Maintaining a safe following distance is important because you never know when the car ahead of you will have to slam on their brakes or swerve out of the way of danger.
Fortunately, many new vehicles on the market today, including the ones found at Southern California Ford Dealers, come with automatic cruise control, which helps you maintain a safe speed and following distance from the car ahead of you, even if they increase or decrease their speed.
New Drivers May Have Different Processes Depending on Their Age
Not every driver gets their permit and license as a minor, so it’s important to understand exactly what the process is for new drivers who are over or under the age of 18. In California, drivers who are under 18, but at least 15 ½ years old, must have their parent’s signature on their permit application. This essentially states that parents of minor children getting a driver’s license assume financial responsibility in terms of the insurance.
New drivers who are over 18 do not need their parent’s signature, and they don’t have to take a driver education training class. If you fall into this group, you will have to get an instruction permit before being issued an official driver’s license. To get this instruction permit, you will have to get 30 out of 36 questions correct on a knowledge test.
Car Accidents Are Common in California...So Be Careful
Car accidents are common in California, with one out of every 143 people being injured in a car crash. Between the winding roads, reckless habits, and human error, inexperienced drivers have to exhibit extra caution every time they get behind the wheel. However, the right vehicle can help offset some of these concerns. Many new vehicles come with excellent safety features that can help make it easier to avoid an accident. These features include everything from blind-spot monitoring to emergency automatic braking and frontal collision warnings.
While you still need to look where you’re going and practice safe driving habits, finding a vehicle that can help provide a little bit of assistance can make a world of difference.
Find A New Vehicle at Southern California Ford Dealers Today
If you’re a first-time driver or you’re the parent of a soon-to-be-driver, finding the right vehicle is important. At Southern California Ford Dealers, we can help you locate a Ford dealership so you and your family can find the right vehicle for you and your needs.