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By Lauren Paige Kennedy

Young drivers are at more risk than ever, new research suggests. One street-smart instructor gives his tested rules for the road.

Earning a driver’s license has long been a rite of passage for teenagers in America. But with mobile devices distracting teens at every turn, are they ready to take the keys?
Maybe not. Some studies suggest the internet has abated the urgency for young people to connect in real life now that they can group text and meet online. Yet even with the rate of 16 year olds applying for their learner’s permits falling by 47% since 1983, deadly teen crashes are on the rise. According to a recent study by the AAA Foundation for ‘Traffic Safety, drivers ages 16 to 17 are three times more likely than adults to be involved in a collision, with a IO% spike in fatalities between 2014 and 2015, the .latest data collected.
Ira Okin, an instructor at Formula One Driving School in Mamaroneck, New York, who has taught teens and adults how to drive for the past decade, steers teen drivers toward safety with these pointers:

“Signals are your lifeline,” Okin emphasizes. “They inform others of what you’re doing. Too many people, including grownups, don’t use them. Also, take quick glances at your side and rearview mirrors every three to five seconds. Regularly glance at blind spots to stay out of trouble:’

“Kids often don’t consider consequences, like pulling out of a driveway too quickly. Or they don’t look down the road 500 feet-they focus on what they’re doing, not where they’re going. Or they zone out at red lights.” Remind them: anticipate, anticipate, anticipate.

“I’ve had kids tell me: ‘My dad says I can go a little faster than the [posted] speed limit: Never confuse your kids. Follow the law exactly.”

“Nobody out there cares about you,” Okin tells his students bluntly. “Other people want to go where they want to go, and they don’t want you in their way. Stay observant at all times:’
First and last rule? “Put down your phone” when you drive.

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