Editor’s Note: The safety tip for the month of May is provided by Mifflin County Communities That Care. This is an ongoing monthly series provided by CTC to help inform the public about key areas of safety concerns.

Teen Driving Safety

Submitted by Don Spangler of Mifflin County, and D&D Driving School, 1001 Karen St, Boalsburg, PA 16827, (814) 466-6368

Since the inception of Graduated Licensing in Pennsylvania the crashes and fatalities have been drastically reduced. At first teens from our area were dismayed about the long six month waiting period and the rule of having to practice for 50 hours of driving with an adult over 21 years of age. Now most have agreed that the hours of practice are an advantage when it comes time to take their driver’s test. Here are a few problems that occur frequently when student drivers are practicing and tips to deal with the problems.

New drivers often forget to SLOW DOWN and adjust their speed at corners. Driving too fast into a curve or corner and then trying to slow down afterwards has upset many a driver instructor and parent. If a driver slows down prior to the curve and covers the brake with their foot they can usually accelerate out of the turn like most experienced drivers. If your child does go into a curve too fast don’t hesitate to communicate with them in a calm manner. A little preventive medicine is needed, so talk to them, don’t yell! If you vehicle has a center parking brake lever, you can use the lever to gradually slow the student down. It will engage only the rear brakes so be careful to apply it lightly. Remember the acorn doesn’t fall far from the tree, Mom and Dad.

Another frequently abused law is Following Too Closely. Even though a 16 year old has better reflexes than a more mature driver they’re experience level is not that of a person who has been driving for 20 some years. Keep at least a 2-4 second following distance between you and the car in front of you. You can count the seconds from the time the car in front of you passes a mark on the roadway, a sign or pole on the side of the road, or a shadow on the roadway itself. You count in one thousands till your vehicle reaches that point. If you are stopped at an intersection keep a half a car length between you and the car in front. One should stop, just so you can see the tires of the car in front over you hood. It doesn’t matter how fast you accelerate from the signal light, just if you start to move when the car in front moves or if you’re first, you should move soon after the signal light turns green.

Two new laws that affect all drivers in Pennsylvania are as follows: If you have your wipers on then you MUST have you headlights on. Not only the headlights but your taillights too! This law is so you can be seen not so you can see. Help others see you. Turn on those headlights if it’s raining.

The second law states that if an emergency vehicle, public safety vehicle, or law enforce vehicle is pulled over on the side of the road your Must move to the farthest left lane away from that vehicle. If you cannot move to the left lane then you must SLOW DOWN to a reasonable speed to pass by those vehicles that are stopped.

Teaching your child to drive can be a stressful experience. I know from my own experience that this was my most difficult time between my son and me. It pays in the long run to have a professional teach your child to drive. Usually you can save on your insurance payments with driver’s education.   Rumor has it that our driver’s license center in Lewistown is on the schedule to be closed. When this will happen we do not know. That leaves your closest alternative either Rockview in State College or Selinsgrove. If your son/daughter would take both the theory class and the behind the wheel training from D & D Driving School and they are currently in high school, then the instructor can give them the test on the PennDOT approved course, with no parallel parking needed. This could save you time and money running to State College or Selinsgrove. So please consider enrolling your child in the PennDOT approved course of Driver Training provided by D & D Driving School.