HOUSTON - It’s time to head back to school and that means more teens will be hitting the road.
KHOU 11 reporter Michelle Choi got a special lesson from a driving instructor from Safeway Driving and got tips on how young drivers can stay safe behind the wheel.
“The biggest thing to remember is safe choices and safe habits,” said Ann Littmann, CEO of Safeway Driving in Houston.
“For teenager drivers, one of the biggest things you have to remember is a lack of experience,” she said.
That's why driving schools work to equip young motorists with proper techniques before they hit the road.
“Your vehicle is an instrument of destruction, it’s a 35,000-pound missile loaded with rocket fuel,” said Littmann.
Lesson one - the basics: adjust your seat and leave enough space for you to be able to pivot your ankle comfortably.
Next, your mirrors. You will want to adjust your side mirrors just enough so your bottom back door handle looks like it’s floating on top of a reference point, like a sidewalk. Be sure to lock your doors, buckle up, and keep both hands on the wheel.
“You want to keep your hands in a 9 and 3 position,” said Littmann.
Lesson two - let’s talk distractions.
“It only takes 3 seconds to change your life and the lives of those around you,” said Littmann. “For students who are under the age of 18, it’s actually illegal for them to use a mobile communications device, even if it’s hands free."
It’s all part of the graduation license law, which also says teens are only allowed to have one passenger under the age of 21 at a time in their car.
Driving instructors also say it’s best if the radio is either off or set low.
“Loud music can be very distracting, we also tend to flip through stations while we’re driving,” said Littmann.
Final lesson - parents, talk driving safety with your kids.
“We recommend parents actually have a contract with their kids, about what habits are appropriate behind the wheel,” said Littmann.
Some other tips include making sure to eat beforehand so you’re not eating in the car and to be well-rested before getting behind the wheel.