9 Back To School Driving Tips

By Oliver Weiss, August 8, 2017

It's around that time of the year again: Back To School! Along with the rush to stock up fresh school supplies and some new duds, there are many newly-licensed teenagers who are responsible for driving themselves to school for the first time.

If you're among that number of new drivers, following these back to school driving tips will make it easier for you to have a safe, successful school year. 

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1. Leave plenty of time to get from point A to point B.

You've got your license. Congratulations! You no longer have to get up at the crack of dawn to get on the bus or go on a cold morning walk or bike ride to get to school. You're a new driver and althought you might save some time, you shouldn't wait until the last minute to head off to school!

By leaving early, you'll avoid the stressful last-minute rush and decrease the amount of traffic you have to deal with. Also, an unexpected accident or traffic on the road won't make you late for school. You might have to spare a few minutes of sleep, but avoiding a stressful morning rush to school will be a much better start to your day. 

2. Wait for a few minutes after school.

If you're worried or nervous about navigating the parking lot, don't go dashing off to your car as soon as the bell rings. Most people think that that is the quickest way to leave school and the best way to avoid the after school traffic, but in reality, it's not. With everyone trying to leave right as school ends, it can cause a lot of traffic and can be quite hectic. Within a few minutes, the parking lot will clear out considerably, and you won't have to fight nearly as much traffic to get out. Simply take your time and take a relaxed walk to get to your car, and you’ll get home in the same amount of time, or maybe even faster!

3. Don't multitask.

This goes for even the most experienced of drivers. Don’t put on makeup, check your phone, or flip open a book to check on a homework assignment when you're driving – especially first thing in the morning when you're still sleepy. While eating in the car or sending a quick text may seem easy to do while driving, you only need to be distracted for a moment for something to go wrong. Remember, you share the road, so keep it a safe place!

4. Pass on picking up friends until you've built driving confidence.

Sure, it sounds cool to be able to swing by your best friend's house and pick them up before school or take them home after school instead of waving them away for the bus. However, being a nervous driver is never a fun thing and your friend could end up being a distraction to you. Save it for when you have some practice under your belt.

It's also smart to know your state's law is on having passengers under the age of 25 with you, as many states give you a waiting period until you can officially drive anyone. If you're lacking driving confidence or aren't past your given waiting period, pass on picking up the crew.

5. Keep an eye on your gas gauge.

When possible, fill up after school, not before – and don't wait until your tank hits empty! In the moment, it can seem like a pain to go get gas after school when all you want to do is go home and relax, but it goes a long way in helping you be prepared for the next day. The last thing you want is to end up stranded when you're already running late for school. Make sure to plan ahead!

6. Speaking of planning ahead, plan your route on the first day.

Before the first day of school, take the time to look over the school parking lot, check out traffic patterns, and plan how you'll get in and out of school each day. Maybe even take a few trips there and back to get comfortable with your route. It's best to not have any unwanted surprises when you are first driving to school. Reviewing the drive to school will help make the transition smoother when your back on the education grind.

7. Leave plenty of room on the road.

Remember that many of your peers are also new drivers – and some aren't as informed as you (since you're reading this article and all)! When you're in the school parking lot, allow plenty of room for other drivers.

Some people might have some trouble parking or with a certain driving maneuver, so give them time and space to figure it out, I'm sure they will be thankful!

8. Slow your roll.

Everyone is always excited for their first day back to school, and you may want to just rush and get there, but that's never a good idea. Take the drive at a pace that is safe and that you are comfortable with. Speeding is a component in most accidents, so it's a lot safer to drive the speed limit and arrive a minute or two later. Remember, you left early (see #1), so you have plenty of time.

9. Give you car a last minute check!

The last thing you want going to school is to have a warning light illuminate or maybe a flat tire or a brake light out. Be safe and give your car a quick check a day or two before your first day of school – better safe than sorry!

Driving your car to school for the first time is a huge milestone, and you should feel great for getting such an awesome opportunity. By following these back to school driving tips, you'll find that you're able to enjoy it more and keep yourself safer – and that makes both us and mom and dad very happy!

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