This is an online resource for the book
The Teenager's Guide to the Real World
by Marshall Brain, ISBN 1-9657430-3-9. The online resources
are offered as a free supplement to the book. They help you access the
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Seven Secrets to Avoiding Car Accidents
It's a fact that teenagers get into a lot more accidents than adults do. The reason
for that is simple: teenagers have less driving experience, so it is easier for them to
get caught by simple mistakes that adults have already learned to avoid. Here are
seven driving secrets that you can follow to help avoid unneccessary accidents.
- Check for cars twice before pulling into an intersection at a stop sign - This
simple step has saved my life several times. About 10 times in my life I have stopped at a stop
sign to make a left-hand turn, looked both ways, and apparently I
had a clear intersection. But when I looked again there was a car
coming right down on top of me! That happened, in all 10 cases, because just at the instant I happened
to look to the right the car in question was sneakily hiding begind the windshield pillar on the
passenger side! If you check twice you avoid this problem.
- Look behind you before backing out of a parking place - I can remember
walking out of a grocery store one day. I was walking down a lane of the
parking lot with cars parked on both sides. About 50 feet ahead of me two people both pulled
out of their parking spaces at exactly the same time. Unfortunately they were
right across from each other and they rear-ended each other pretty badly.
Both of them looked for oncoming traffice in the lane, but they
forgot to look directly behind.
- Watch for cars rushing through intersections at the end of a red light - If you are the first person in
line at a red light, you often end up staring intently at the light and punching the gas the instant the light
turns green. It would be better, when the light turns green, to quickly look both ways before proceeding.
In many cases a person is trying to make it through the intersection on the yellow light. If you rush
into the intersection at the moment the light turns green without looking for that oncoming car, you will get hit.
It happens all the time.
- Look both left and right when making a right-hand turn - When sitting at an intersection waiting
to make a right-hand turn, you often get in the habit of looking left until traffic is clear and then
immediately entering the intersection. It "makes sense"--traffic should only be coming
from the left. However, things on your right can change while you are concentrating on your left-hand
side. What's shown in the diagram below is a very common change - a pedestrian has started walking
and is in the cross-walk. If you don't also look right, you will run right into her. You would be
surprised how many accidents happen at intersections because of over-concentration on the traffic coming
from the left.
- Watch for cars that are pulling trailers - If you are at an intersection watching an oncoming car
so that you can cross, make sure you check to see if the oncoming car has a trailer. I recently saw an
accident where the person gunned his car right after the oncoming car passed. Unfortunately the
car was pulling a long, low trailer and the driver never saw it. What a mess!
- When switching lanes on a highway, always turn your head and physically check
for a clear lane; don't just rely on your rear-view mirror - There is a pretty big blind spot
in your mirrors, and a car may be sitting right in that blind spot. If you don't physically
turn your head, you will never see the car when you switch lanes.
- Be very careful when you are close to trucks - Especially when passing on the right hand side, it
is very likely that the driver cannot see you. If you cannot see the truck's mirrors, the truck driver
cannot see you. Even if you can see the mirrors he may not see you. Unfortunately, if the truck driver makes
a mistake you are the one who will get squashed, even if you have the right-of-way.
- Watch for kids - If you are in a neighborhood with cars parked along the street, watch carefully
for kids, dogs, cats, etc. They have a bad habit of popping out from between cars suddenly.
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