Driving Lesson 2 (N2K)

How to Drive a Car:  Learning to Avoid Distractions:

Distracted driving-related crashes killed nearly 5,500 people in 2009 and injured almost half a million more,” Ray LaHood said in a prepared statement. “Lives are at stake, and all the reputable research we have says that tough laws, good enforcement and increased public awareness will help put a stop to the deadly epidemic of distracted driving on our roads.

As you learn how to drive a car you need to avoid all distractions if you want to stay safe. Be sure to practice avoiding distractions during your driving lessons.

When you learn how to drive a car you’re going to be sitting in the driver’s seat. You will begin to understand how focused drivers need to be. If they’re distracted for just a few moments, bad things can happen

Nearly 80 percent of crashes and 65 percent of near-crashes involved some form of driver inattention within three seconds before the event (NHTSA Data 2006)

Any distraction can be deadly, but novice drivers like you are particularly at risk because you don’t have a lot of skill or experience yet. As you learn how  to drive a car safely you need to practice on not being distracted. Make it part of your Drivers ED checklist. Have your parents advise you when a distraction is happening and make sure your attention to driving is not affected.

Passengers have responsibilities too. They need to respect the driver and make sure the environment is calm and safe so the driver can concentrate on driving. Practice advising passengers of their responsibilities before you start the car. An important one is for all passengers to wear seatbelts. Make this a part of your Drivers Ed checklist too.

The following videos are about distractions while driving. They contain the following items:

  • What Can Happen When You are Not Watching the Road Ahead
  • News Report on Deadly Accident caused by Texting
  • News Report on Study Done on Texting
  • The Other Breakfast Club
  • TV News Article on Distracted Driving
  • Examples of Distractions and Consequences
  • Example of What Can Happen When Texting






As you learn how to drive a car you will realize that many things can be a distraction and pose a safety hazard. As part of your Driver Ed program make sure you practice avoiding distractions like the following:

Distractions in a car:  Music

Teens love their tunes. Whether it’s CDs, MP3s, or the radio - music is a big part of their lives.

There are 2 potential problems here:

1. Getting distracted while you change stations or CDs

2. Having the music so loud that it drowns out noises from outside the car including sirens, horns and even screams!

NOTE: Headphones and earbuds are illegal in many places. The driver of a car should NEVER wear them.

Distractions in a carPassengers

Question: What do you get when you put 3 or more teens together?

Answer: A party!

Teens like to have fun and a car provides lots of opportunity for laughs. But some teens pressure each other to take risks and do things they wouldn’t do on their own.

47% of teens admit that passengers sometimes distract them. (2005 Allstate Foundation Study)

Research proves that the more teens are in the car, the more likely it is to be involved in a crash. Some teens think it’s funny to cover the driver’s eyes or tickle them when they’re driving.

Distractions in a car:  Eating and Drinking

You need two hands on the wheel. Eating and drinking are distractions that take your mind off driving and at least one hand off the wheel.

Pull over to eat or drink. You’ll enjoy it more and you aren’t as likely to spill ketchup on your shirt or hot coffee in your lap.

Are there some foods that you should never eat in cars? What about:

  • Pasta
  • Salads
  • Meats that needs to be cut with a knife
  • Foods that are dipped in something else
Distractions in a car:  Smoking

Smoking is stupid, smelly and unhealthy. Ashes fall and burn holes in your clothes and upholstery. Smoking lowers the resale value of your vehicle and leaves sticky yellow scum on your windshield. It’s also a distraction that takes a hand off the wheel.

Fires have been started when drivers accidentally drop their cigarettes or flick their butts into the back seat. Passengers are exposed to second-hand-smoke.

There’s simply no ‘upside’ to smoking in the car.

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