As a Los Angeles native, I know a thing or two about driving. With public transport that leaves a lot to be desired, cars were my primary form of transport. On bustling freeways and narrow side streets I’ve really seen it all when it comes to wacky driving: Road rage, car accidents, horrible dancing, even more horrible singing, etc. You name it, I’ve probably seen it.
Lately when I glanced at my fellow drivers, however, they’re usually on their cell phones. It’s against the law to talk or text on the phone while driving in California (and a number of other states), but people do it anyway. While their distraction allows me to cut in front of them without much hassle, it is still scary to be around drivers who are so careless about their surroundings! Since we want all of our readers to be safe and awesome drivers, Gurl has teamed up with DoSomething.org to give you a list of 10 ways not to suck at driving.
Don't Text And Drive, Start A Thumb WarI'm sure all of you have done it before, at least once. But seriously, don't do it. There isn't a single text message that is important enough to completely kill your concentration. Things happen in the blink of an eye. According to DoSomething.org, when you're texting while driving 55 mph, your eyes go off the road for the length of a football field. Freaky, right? Well, DoSomething.org has just launched their Thumb Wars campaign to help spread the word about the dangers of texting while driving. Filling out a little basic info and informing your friends and family about the dangers of texting and driving gets you some free stuff and a chance to win a $5,000 scholarship. What are you waiting for? Do Something now!Source: Shutterstock
You're Not Speed RacerThis is not Fast and Furious. This is real life, and real life isn't a never ending drag race. Don't speed. It's not worth the possibility of getting a ticket and it's not worth the fear of having to make a sudden, screeching stop. This is especially true in crappy weather. Source: Shutterstock
Know What You Can HandleDon't assume that you'll know how to handle a stick if you've only learned how to drive an automatic. The last thing you want is to stall in the middle of a busy road. Source: Shutterstock
Avoid Drowsy DrivingFalling asleep at the wheel is becoming more common for teens, especially with busier schedules, more homework, and a higher demand for extra curricular activities. If you're incredibly sleep deprived, stay off the road. Also avoid driving if you're sick!Source: Shutterstock
Use Your Turn SignalNot using your turn signal can lead to some serious road rage! Please, use your turn signal. Even if you think that there's enough space between the car you're going to cut in front of, or you think you can make a turn fast enough without it...just do it. Unless you're surrounded by jerks who'll take your precautions as a cue to speed up, it'll generally warn cars around you to be vigilant and give you some room.Source: Shutterstock
Keep Your Friends Under ControlYep, your friends can make you a horrible drivers. Don't be peer pressured by your friends to go flying down the freeway or honk obnoxiously at some strangers. Basically, don't do anything you wouldn't normally do alone just because you friends are around.Source: Shutterstock
Stop ReadingReading directions or looking up directions on your Google Maps app is fine when you have somebody else in the car with you to do that for you. But solo? Yikes! I've tried it plenty of times when I was unsure about how to make my way around an unfamiliar part of LA, and it was a huge pain! I could barely read the directions because it was getting dark, I kept losing my place and I became more anxious as time went on. Try to use either your car's GPS or a maps app on your phone that provides directions aloud. The robotic voice can be annoying but it beats trying to keep your eyes on the freeway and your directions at the same time.Source: Shutterstock
Don't Make Your Car The Scene Of Your Last SupperWe've all been there: We just picked up some take out or some food from the drive through and we're having a hard time resisting ripping the bag open and eating it all before we get home. But for your own safety try to have some self control. You don't want to have a burger in one hand and a soda in the other while you attempt to grip the steering wheel with your wrists. Don't let a lukewarm hamburger be your last meal. Grabbing a few fries is cool but anything more than that is asking for trouble and a potential mess to clean up.Source: Shutterstock
Don't Doll Yourself Up Behind The WheelDon't apply your makeup or do your hair while you're driving. Not only is it dangerous, but there's also nothing more ridiculous than passing by somebody applying mascara and lining their lips while they're at a stop light. Either finish your makeup at home or wait until you arrive at your destination. Stabbing yourself in the eye while driving is not a cute look.Source: Shutterstock
Don't Drive Under The InfluenceJust because you think you can drive, that doesn't mean that you can. I know you've heard this to death but seriously, teens get into accidents like this all the time and it is never taken seriously until it hits close to home. A little buzzed is too buzzed. It's just not cool and it's not safe. Don't be more worried about abandoning your car than your personal safety. Get a cab or a sober friend to take you home.Source: Shutterstock
Do you text and drive? What are your driving do’s and don’ts? Tell us in the comments!