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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 huge library of material for teenager's available on the Web. For more information on the book please click here.

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.
  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.
  4. 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.

  5. 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!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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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