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Tips for Teens (and All New Drivers)

Along with the freedom of that first driver’s license, every new driver should have knowledge of the type of situations they might encounter; it’s important for drivers to be prepared.

1- Safe Driving and using a cell phone: Impossible and illegal. Research clearly proves that cell phones are distracting; it’s illegal in Ontario to use any handheld device unless calling 911.

2- Stopped by a Police Officer: Safely pull over to the side of the road, turn off your vehicle and await the Officer. Even if you disagree with the reasons for being ticketed save the argument for the courtroom. 

3- The ‘check engine’ light comes on: Pull over quickly but safely, especially if you also hear mechanical noises, see smoke, or smell electrical burning and call for assistance. Have a mechanic look at your vehicle as soon as possible. If the check engine light comes on shortly after you bought gas, it might only be that you didn’t properly close the gas cap. Tighten it and continue driving. The light should go off. If it doesn’t and you’re still unsure, explain the problem to a mechanic. 

4-You get a flat tire while driving: Pull off the road and out of the way of traffic. If you have a Roadside Assistance Plan (you should) call for service. Your spare tire should be well-maintained, making it possible for you to change it yourself if need be. New drivers who are physically able should practice this skill, just in case.

5-Your car is involved in an accident: If your car is drivable and there are no serious injuries, put on your 4 way flashers and pull safely out of traffic. After reporting the incident to the police, exchange insurance information with the other driver. Refrain from discussing the details, but record as much information as possible about the other vehicle and the driver’s information, also road conditions, for both insurance and police purposes. Generally, never leave the scene of an accident, but the law does allow you to leave if you feel unsafe. You can remain in your vehicle until the police arrive, or drive to a secure spot, call the police and then return to the scene to wait for, or return with, the police. Check the Ministry of Transportation for more details.

6-Your friends are planning on driving and drinking: Don’t get in the car; call your family or take a taxi, but do whatever is needed not to drive with them; try to prevent them from driving as well. They might be momentarily angry but at least you, your friends and other drivers on the road will be safe.

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