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Every year, thousands of teen drivers study up, practice their parallel parking skills, and pass their driving test with flying colors. There’s a lot about driving that you cannot learn in a book, though. Just like you will develop muscle memory as you become a more experienced driver, you will also have to learn how to become a safe driver too.

The longer you are behind the wheel, the more these safe driving techniques will become second nature. Until that time comes, however, there are some driving tips that will make all the difference on the road, and help you to develop into a confident, safe, and smart driver.

Master Defensive Driving

Inexperienced drivers have a lot on their plates. Most feel the need to concentrate on their own driving skills and ensure that they’re doing everything in their power to practice safe driving on their end. Once you are comfortable with your own driving abilities, however, you will have to master the art of defensive driving.

Though it sounds like you need to be hyper-aware and tense when you’re behind the wheel, the term defensive driving actually just refers to knowing what’s going on around you. Yes, you already have situational awareness going on in your own vehicle, but are you able to anticipate what the driver one lane over is going to do based on how they aredriving?

Learning how to look for signs and signals from other drivers about their potential driving behavior will lead to a dramatic reduction in your risk of getting into an accident. Paying attention to everything and everyone around you will help to create safer roads, so now is the time to start practicing your defensive driving skills.

Put the Phone Down

Yes, we all love our cell phones and hate to be apart from them for any amount of time, but texting, talking, and social networking while driving is a recipe for disaster. According to Cell Control, nearly 6 in 10 accidents involving teen drivers is caused by distracted driving like texting.

If you can’t trust yourself to tuck your cell phone away within arm’s reach for the duration of your drive, then start keeping it in your glove box until you adjust to driving without compulsively checking it. Developing your driving skills is the only thing that you should be focused on when you’re behind the wheel.

Seatbelts Are NOT Optional

Whatever your feeling is about seatbelt necessity, seatbelt laws are on the books for a very good reason: a seatbelt can save your life. Teenagers have the lowest rate of seatbelt usage of any driving group, and that can lead to a very unfortunate end.

According to the CDC, in 2014, more than half of teen drivers in fatal car accidents were not wearing seatbelts when they crashed. Putting on a seatbelt can be the difference between life and death, even for the most experienced driver around. No matter what your reason to consider driving without a seatbelt, the only reason you need to put one on is that it can save your life.