Driving Tips for Teens

FDOT District Two Community Traffic Safety Program developed ten short videos with driving tips for teens. A series of brief educational and informative traffic safety messages were posted on YouTube for National Teen Driver Safety Week – and all year long. The highest percentage of our Traffic Safety Team YouTube channel audience (41.6%) is between the ages of 18 and 24, and an ideal place to help educate teens about speeding, distracted driving, and other road rules.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2021, Florida teens made up nearly 5 percent of Florida’s driving population. However, more than 11 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in Florida involved a teen driver. Parents, teachers, and caregivers are a great source of driver education, and we hope they share these videos.

Occupant Protection and Distracted Driving Road Rules:

Buckle Up – It Can Save Your Life
Stop Distractions – Focus on Driving

Safety belts save lives! Buckling up properly is the single, most effective way to protect yourself in a crash. Wear your safety belt across your shoulder and your waist. Front seat drivers and passengers AND backseat passengers under age 18 – MUST wear a safety belt (Florida Law!)

Distracted driving is NOT just from cell phones but also includes: talking to passengers, eating, adjusting the radio, reaching for items in the backseat, putting on cosmetics, and anything that takes your attention away from the roadway. Please put your phone down, and focus on driving! In Florida, texting and driving are not just dangerous; it’s illegal.

Bicycle Safety and Motorcycle Driving Tips for Teens and All Motorists:

Bike Safety for Cyclists and Motorists
Please Always Ride Responsibly

Cyclists, please note: Lighting equipment on your bicycle is required at night. Helmets are required for those under 16 years of age. You are required to have properly working brakes. Always ride on the right-hand shoulder of the road. Do not wear earbuds in both ears. Motorists, this is Florida law: When passing a bike on the roadway, you must give three feet when passing. Please watch for sharrow markings on the road – this means that motorists must share the lane with cyclists.

Many factors can lead to motorcycle crashes – not just inexperienced motorcycle riders and motorists – but careless driving. Left turns in front of motorcycles are the leading reason for a crash – 40% of the time. Always look twice and drive with care. Bikes that are over 50cc require an endorsement on your license – Make sure you get the proper training and wear a helmet!

Pedestrian Safety and Florida’s Move Over Law:

Learn About Pedestrian RRFBs
Move Over and Slow Down

Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) Tips for pedestrians: Activate the signal by pushing the button. Wait for the lights to flash. Step to the curb and wait for traffic to stop. Cross the road while constantly monitoring traffic. And tips for Florida drivers: If you approach an RRFB and the lights are flashing, and a pedestrian is present, you must come to a complete stop at the stop bar. Remain stopped until the pedestrians are across the roadway. You may proceed with caution after the pedestrians have cleared the road.

Drivers, here is what you need to know about the Florida Move Over Law. This law includes police, emergency, service vehicles, Florida Road Rangers, tow trucks, construction, and other utility vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road and displaying flashing yellow, red, or blue lights. On approach, move over one lane. If you cannot safely move over, reduce your speed by at least 20 mph below. Police are cracking down. You might receive a moving violation if you do not abide by this Florida law

Lane Departure and Intersection Traffic Safety Tips:

Lane Departure is a Leading Cause of Fatalities
Traffic Safety at Intersections

Speeding on a curve is one of the leading causes of lane departure crashes. Never accelerate going into a curve! Release acceleration, coast through the curve, then resume acceleration. Chevrons, rumble strips, barriers, and guardrails are all countermeasures to reduce lane departure. Please drive carefully!

In Florida, intersections are among the top 2 locations for serious injury crashes. When approaching an intersection, be aware of driveway accesses, vehicles that suddenly come to a complete stop, and cars that suddenly change lanes in front of you. When stopped at a red light, check for pedestrians. Yield to pedestrians and bicyclists before turning right. When you see the flashing yellow arrow, yield to oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

School Bus and Railroad Crossing Safety Reminders:

Stop for School Buses
Railroad Crossing Safety Tips

Here are some important railroad crossing tips to keep in mind: Do not drive through, around, or under a railroad crossing gate. Never stop on the tracks. Stay back at least 15 feet from the track. Walking or stopping on the tracks is hazardous.

When the yellow lights begin to flash on a school bus, it is coming to a stop to load or unload students; you must stop and do not pass the bus. Remain stopped until the stop panels are retracted, the door is closed, and the bus begins to proceed. The only time you are not required to stop for a school bus is if you are in the opposing lanes of the bus on a roadway with a raised median or physical barrier of at least five feet or more.

These road rules apply to drivers of all ages, significantly younger inexperienced motorists. The goal is to reduce crashes and eliminate fatalities and severe injuries on our roadways. #TargetZeroFL

Other Important Reminders for Teen Drivers:

  • Reduce the number of passengers
  • Lower music volume
  • Use turn signals
  • Limit driving at dark
  • Obey the speed limit
  • Stop at stop signs and traffic lights
  • Share the road

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more than half of teens killed in crashes were not wearing a safety seat belt. We cannot say this enough, please always buckle up for every car ride!

Links to Additional Resources and Driving Tips for Teens:

Inclement Weather Safety

Traffic accidents increase during bad weather. Following the inclement weather safety tips below can reduce traffic-related crashes, injuries, and fatalities on our roadways. These traffic safety graphics and safe driving tips can be shared with your organization and community.

inclement weather safety
inclement weather safety

Today’s Forecast Calls for a Safe Drive

Sometimes we have the privilege of preparedness; other times Mother Nature mounts a sneak attack and we encounter a bad storm. Remember the saying “Expect the unexpected?” Knowing how to handle your vehicle in dangerous weather will prevent panic when you are forced into driving in a storm. Become weather-wise by following these simple guidelines:

  • Turn on your lights. Keep windshield wipers on and make sure they are in good working condition.
  • Slow down, but keep moving. Don’t stop unless you can get completely off the road.
  • Minimize lane changing.
  • Stay further behind the car in front of you.
  • Be careful of large puddles, they can make your brakes less effective.
  • On wet roads, apply brakes smoothly and evenly to avoid hydroplaning. If you do lose control, take your foot off the gas and do not apply the brakes suddenly.
  • Never drive through flood water more than six inches deep. If you encounter a flooded area, turn around. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately and climb to higher ground.

Northeast Florida experiences many challenging weather conditions that make it a hazard while driving. Thunderstorms and heavy fog are frequent occurrences. Hurricanes are also a significant concern. High winds, wet roads, and low visibility increase the crash risk. Plan ahead and be prepared for predicted storms and hurricanes. Please drive safe and stay off the road during inclement weather unless it’s an emergency.

Links to Safe Travel Information

Traffic Safety Wise Words

The Northeast Florida CTSP launched the Wise Words safety campaign in 2018 with team member Walt Duffany’s Walt’s Wise Words. Walt began working with the District Two CTST when he was an FDOT Lake City shop supervisor. He retired from FDOT in 2015. He now serves as Deputy Reservist Coordinator for Columbia County Fire Rescue as a volunteer. Walt and his family moved to Florida from Watertown, New York in 1986. In New York, he worked for the Town of Adams highway department. He is also a Navy veteran and spent time in Vietnam. Thank you, Walt, for all of your clever safety messages and for your service!

When the campaign launched with Walt’s Wise Words, the graphic consisted of a car with a bumper sticker with a Wise Words slogan. It has since morphed into a campaign with colorful images, graphics and catchy phrases which are all original and created by District Two CTST team members. The traffic safety Wise Words are short, smart messages targeted to drivers. They are focused on a variety of topics like distracted, impaired, tailgating, turn signals, and buckling up. Additional traffic safety campaigns were created for Work Zone Awareness, Occupant Protection, Distracted Driving, Safe Distancing Driving, Stop on Red, and Impaired Driving, among others. 

Share Traffic Safety Wise Words

Be a Community Traffic Safety Team “Virtual Volunteer”. Share these Wise Words on your social media accounts. Don’t forget to tag us! Facebook / Instagram@trafficsafetyteamTwitter / Pinterest / LinkedIn@trafficsafetyfl 

traffic safety wise words
traffic safety wise words
traffic safety wise words
traffic safety wise words
traffic safety wise words
traffic safety wise words

Ride Safe Activity Cards

The Northeast Florida Community Traffic Safety Program (CTSP) distributed 15,000 Ride Safe Activity Cards throughout all 18 counties of FDOT District Two in May 2021. They are available for free at your local library.

Seat Belts Save Lives activity cards
Ride Safe Activity Cards – Buckle Up Activity Card with Occupant Protection and Child Passenger Safety Tips

Libraries are a wonderful place for community members to access educational and informational resources at no cost, and for our Community Traffic Safety Teams to promote key traffic safety messages, like driving safe, always wearing your safety belt, stopping distracted driving and sharing the road. This Ride Safe activity card is double-sided with a car safety crossword and child safety seat maze activity.

Seat Belts Save Lives activity card

We have also created this free digital, one-sided 8.5×11 Ride Safe, Occupant Protection resource available here for downloading, printing and sharing with your community.

The FDOT District Two covers 18 counties, from rural to urban communities. Our Northeast Florida CTSP has partnered with local, county public library systems for many years. Our goal is to help reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities on our roadways through education and community outreach.

Ride Safe: Remember to Always Buckle Up for Every Car Ride!

This Ride Safe Activity Card, occupant protection and child passenger safety, free educational resource is part of a series. The Drive Safe and Bike Safe pieces are available online below, and Walk Safe will be distributed this Fall. Each piece has a different activity or puzzle with important traffic safety tips and reminders.

Bike Safe Activity Card

Pick up a free Bike Safe Activity Card at your local Northeast Florida library. The Community Traffic Safety Program (CTSP) distributed 15,000 Bike Safe activity cards this month to public libraries in all 18 counties of FDOT District Two. 

Be a Roll Model artwork
Bike Safe Activity Card with Traffic Safety Tips for Cyclists and Motorists

This Bike Safe Activity Card is double-sided with a helmet coloring page and a word search puzzle for kids or adults. There are bicycle safety messages for drivers and cyclists. The helmet safety rules are great for parents, caregivers and educators to discuss with children.

About the Bike Safety Activity Card Series

These free educational resources are part of a series that will be distributed quarterly this year. First, Drive Safe became available in January. Now, Bike Safe, launched in spring, which will be followed by Ride Safe this summer. Finally, Walk Safe in the fall. Each has a different activity or puzzle with important traffic safety tips and reminders.

The Northeast Florida CTSP has long since partnered with local, county public library systems. The FDOT District Two covers 18 counties, from rural to urban communities. Libraries are a wonderful venue for the public to access educational and informational resources. The are also a wonderful place for our Community Traffic Safety Teams to promote key traffic safety messages, like biking safe (wear a helmet) and driving safe (share the road).

Be a Roll Model activity card

We created this free digital, one-sided 8.5×11 Bike Safe sheet available here for downloading, printing and sharing with your community.

Our goal is to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities on our Northeast Florida roadways and protect all road users. Together, we can make traffic safety a top priority. Check out the other three safety and educational activity cards in this series below:

The Northeast Florida CTSP website has many tips and resources available. For more Bicycle Safety Tips, click here.