Category: Growing Up

Avoid Peer Pressure to Drink Alcohol at the Next Party With These Tips

Going to a party with your friends can be a lot of fun. Unfortunately, it can also be stressful. It isn’t uncommon for alcohol to be present at high school and college parties. Although drinking in the moment can be a lot of fun, it can change your life for the worse. Not only can it get you in trouble with your parents, but your life could also change forever. An astonishing 30 people a day die in DUI’s in the United States.

The good news is that you can still have fun partying with your friends without having to drink alcohol. You just have to be prepared to avoid any peer pressure you may encounter with these tips.

Be the Designated Driver

One of the quickest and easiest ways to avoid peer pressure to drink at any party is to offer to be the designated driver. Anytime someone asks why you aren’t drinking, all you have to do is say you’re the one driving everyone home, so you won’t be drinking.

Have a friend or an acquaintance who just won’t let it go? Let them know that you can’t leave the car at the party and find a different way home because you’re borrowing your parent’s car. It has to go home when you do—end of story.

Hold a Mocktail

It isn’t uncommon for people to try and offer you a drink when you’re at a party. If you’re holding something that obviously isn’t alcohol, like water or Gatorade, you’re likely going to spend more time saying no than you would like. Avoid all the attention and carry around a mocktail.

Mocktail recipes are gaining in popularity among all ages, so there’s plenty to choose from that look at taste like the real thing. Because it looks and tastes like an alcoholic beverage, no one will ask if they can get you a drink because it looks like you already have one!

Want to be even sneakier? Bring mocktails to the party to share with everyone and add the alcohol only after you have served yourself first.

Plan Not to Drink With a Friend

Peer pressure can be hard to deal with when it comes from friends or people you look up to, but peer influence isn’t always so bad. If you have another friend who doesn’t want to drink at the party, make a plan to support each other in saying no.

Make sure your friend has a convincing non-alcoholic drink, and they can make sure you have one as well. Stick to each other like glue so you each feel supported if you’re approached with alcohol.

Have more than one friend who doesn’t want to drink? The more, the merrier! The more friends you can get involved, the more comfortable you’ll feel avoiding alcohol at the party.

Know How to Say No With Humor

No matter how much preparing you do, you’re likely to get asked why you aren’t drinking, especially as others at the party start drinking more. Saying no is hard, but it’s a little easier when you learn how to turn down alcohol with humor.

A few things you can say include:

  • No thanks. I need all the brain cells I’ve got.
  • I’m saving my brain cells for science.
  • My mom knows when I’m even thinking about doing something wrong!
  • I promised my boyfriend I wouldn’t embarrass him tonight.

If you notice that you’re spending most of your time saying no instead of having a good time, it might be a sign that it’s time to head home.

Make a Plan to Leave Early

The first few hours of a party can be a lot of fun, but if you aren’t drinking, the party is likely to become less fun the longer you are there. Make a plan to leave early so you can avoid the sloppy behavior and increased peer pressure as the night goes on.

Make it easier to take off early by pre-planning your excuse. That way you sound confident and believable when it’s time to go home.

You shouldn’t feel like you have to drink if you’re going to a party. You can still have fun if you don’t drink! You just have to make sure you’re prepared to deal with the peer pressure you might encounter. With the tips on this list, you can have fun and you can avoid trouble, all without offending any of your friends who choose to drink.

Driving Apps to Keep Teens Safe

Learning how to drive is a rite of passage into adulthood. A teenager earning their driver’s license is one of the most exciting times of his or her life. Becoming a young driver is fun. It gives you a sense of freedom and responsibility. However, it is important to stay safe too. With the high usage of cell phones on the road, it increases distracted driving and the likelihood of having an accident. It only takes a second to become distracted by a notification or a call that can lead to an accident. These are some recommended driving apps to minimize phone usage while driving. 

As a teenager, creating safe driving habits is essential to preventing involvement in a car accident. “It is the parent’s responsibility to equip their young adult with enough information and resources to become a safe driver, and apps are a fun way of doing so,” said car accident attorney Hank Stout. With the advancement of technology, driving apps have become more resourceful in monitoring driving behaviors. These recommended apps will minimize the likelihood of texting and speeding, but also useful and in emergencies.

Autobrain

A team of first responders created Autobrain. If you happen to get in a car accident, Autobrain immediately alerts 911 to your location. Additional features include roadside assistance, lockout services, emergency fuel delivery, dead battery boost, tire change, and free towing options. The app comes with a 30-day free trial, then $9.97 a month per device.

TrueMotion

TrueMotion is a family-oriented app that tracks and scores each driver’s behavior by providing the route, location, speed limit, and phone usage. It is available on Android and iOS platforms.

RoadReady

The RoadReady app is part of The Parent’s Supervised Driving Program, which provides a printed and digital driving curriculum. The app offers an interactive and educational and way to record the state-required supervised driving time. The app tracks driving time and weather conditions. 

Life360

The Life 360 app provides a weekly driving analysis that includes phone usage, rapid acceleration, hard braking, and excessive speed. Also, it has roadside assistance along with crash and emergency response system.  

Mama Bear

MamaBear is an excellent family-friendly app. It provides a robust all-in-one safety and awareness tool. The app allows you to set a speed limit, and it will notify you when the vehicle exceeds the speed limit, whether you are the driver or passenger. You can set locations and receive arrival and departure notifications. The app features social media and text message monitoring to keep track of followers, pictures, and mentions.

Wireless Providers

Several wireless companies offer driving apps. AT&T may be the most unique with  DriveMode. The app automatically turns on when the car moves at least 15 MPH. While driving, it silences notifications for text messages and phone calls and sends an auto-response to users. If the driver decides to turn off the app or disable other safety features, his or her parents will receive a notification. This app is open to all users, even if you’re not an AT&T subscriber using an Android or iOS. 

Other wireless providers include Hum by VerizonSyncUp Drive with T-Mobile, and Sprint Drive.

How to Avoid Becoming Another Teen Road Collision Statistic

If you’re getting your first car and your driving license, you’re undoubtedly feeling excited about getting on the road. All that freedom to finally go wherever you like without waiting for the bus or your mom to give you a ride.

But whether you like it or not, there’s no denying that teen drivers are at the most risk when it comes to being involved in accidents on the road. Not only are you more of a risk-taker when you’re in your teens, but you also don’t have a lot of experience driving just yet.

The last thing that you want is to end up as just another statistic of being a teen involved in an accident on the road. And depending on what happens, accidents in your first year or two of driving can have serious consequences, from losing your license to seeing your auto insurance premiums soar when they should be coming down. So, how can you make sure that you’re driving safely while still having some fun as you get behind the wheel?

Try Telematics Insurance:

Yes, the idea of having a device fitted to your car to monitor your driving and tell you off in an app for speeding or braking too harshly might suck a little, but when it comes to being safe, it’s often one of the best things that you can do. And, telematics insurance is often cheaper for new drivers, so whether you’re paying for your insurance yourself or your mom and dad are helping you out with it, nobody can complain about that. Since you’re new to driving, there’s always going to be mistakes made and things that you’re unsure of, and your telematics device can help you figure out what you need to practice more and what you’re doing well.

Avoid Giving All Your Friends Rides:

Did you know that your risk of being involved in a fatal collision increases three times just by having all your friends in the car? When you’re giving your friends a ride to school or the mall, you’re more likely to end up driving distracted. After all, everybody’s going to be having conversations and you’re going to naturally want to join in, but when you’re just getting used to being on the road, this can be seriously risky. Try to limit giving rides to no more than two friends at a time and ask them to be respectful of you as a new driver.

Stick to Speed Limits:

Speeding isn’t just reckless in terms of your own safety – you could also be risking the lives of others on the road. You could seriously hurt somebody, and if that happens, the adrenaline rush you felt when you put your foot down just won’t be worth it. And, at best, you could get stopped by the cops and fined before you’ve even got a month of driving experience under your belt.

Keep Learning:

Many teens believe that once they’ve got their license, they’re good to go. But while you might have mastered the basics of driving enough to get your driver’s license and be able to drive your own car on the roads, get into the habit of continuing to learn. Remember that you’re still mastering a lot of driving and there are going to be some new situations that you encounter, so don’t be afraid to ask people who’ve been driving for longer for help; they’ve probably been in more situations on the road than you and can show you things that driver’s ed doesn’t teach you.

Get a Good Handsfree Kit:

As tempting as it may be to answer a text or make a call while driving, it’s best to avoid this entirely – even if it is legal in your state. Using a cell phone when you’re driving can be one of the easiest ways to distract yourself from the road and many serious collisions have occurred as a result. Get a hands-free kit so that you can mount your phone on your dashboard if you need to use it for directions and use an Aux or Bluetooth for taking calls without having to touch the handset.

Like it or not, teens tend to be involved in the most collisions on the road. If you’re excited to get your first car, keep these tips in mind and drive safely.

What Should You Do If You Are Injured In a Car Accident?

If you are the victim of someone else’s reckless driving, you should consider seeking legal assistance. A car accident attorney can help you understand your rights. The aftermath of an auto accident can be confusing. Reach to someone in your area who can provide answers to your questions.

What Teens Need to Know About Safe Driving and Avoiding Car Accidents

It’s frequently true that teenage drivers get into more car accidents than older drivers. It’s not always their fault as we’ll discover in this article.

Also, newer drivers don’t always know what to do in the case of an accident. We also touch on this to provide some useful suggestions too.

Why Teens Are More Likely to Have Car Accidents?

Just like with anything else in life, usually, you get better at something with practice. The more practice, the greater experience dealing with all kinds of situations. This prepares you in life as you get older and is sometimes referred to as ‘wisdom.’

Unfortunately, teenage drivers don’t have the benefit of this yet. Therefore, actions like tactical driving to avoid an accident isn’t necessarily in their skillset. Also, there can be a tendency to drive too fast, rush the lights, or take other unnecessary risks, all of which increase the likelihood of getting into a car accident.

Being under the influence is also a contributing factor. This affects drivers of all ages who choose to drive impaired, not just teenage ones.

Car Accidents are Increasing Despite Car Safety Improvements

You would think that improvements in vehicle safety such as driver and passenger airbags, anti-locking brakes, power steering, compact safety zones to prevent crushing, and other measures would all contribute to a reduction in car accidents. However, you’d be wrong!

For instance, not only is Georgia one of the deadliest in the country for car accidents, but the number of car accidents in just Atlanta alone has increased by over 30 percent in recent years. Ultimately, many accidents are created through either human error and/or bad judgment, which is something that safer car designs and technologies cannot overcome.

Staying more alert, driving slower, and not drinking & driving will certainly help to reduce the possibility of getting into a car accident. However, sometimes they just happen because they’re unavoidable.

What Happens After an Accident?

Getting into an accident is upsetting and disorientating. There’s usually a sense of disbelief and denial that it’s happened, and sometimes a momentary disconnection from reality. However, once you reconnect with what’s going on, it’s time to deal with the unfortunate consequences of it.

Around 30 percent of people involved in a car accident sustain physical injuries. Bear in mind that it’s often difficult to know how badly you’ve been hurt or whether those injuries will be short-term, lifelong, or something in-between.

Also, knowing what to do next when you’ve never had an accident before might be unclear too.

When Should You Contact a Car Accident Lawyer?

If you’re unsure what to do and how bad the situation is, contacting a reputable car accident lawyer in your state should be done ASAP. They’ve dealt with many such cases before and can talk you through what actions to take immediately and in what order.

It’s worth pointing out that documenting the scene of the accident through photos or videos can be useful to your lawyer later. Get medical attention even if you think your injury is minor because it may not be.

Hiring a lawyer at this stage is important because you want someone on your side. Their goal is to get the best compensation for you to cover any pain and suffering caused by the responsible party. Remember, there are other parties involved, and the insurers are not on your side in a car accident.

Car accidents are sometimes avoidable but when you’re in one, it’s important to respond the right way. By getting appropriate advice, it avoids making mistakes following an accident that puts you in a worse position.

How to Reduce Car Accident Risk for Teen Drivers in Austin Texas

While there are scary statistics that involve teens and driving, crashes involving 16 and 17-year-old’s have significantly declined over the past 15 years. As a young driver in a big city like Austin, it’s important that you are aware of other motorists on the road and keep your full focus on what is ahead of you. With that in mind, here are a few ways on how to reduce your chances of being involved in a car accident.

Wear Your Seat Belt

Research indicates that more than 50% of teens killed in a car accident were not wearing their seatbelt. While federal law mandated seatbelts for all vehicles more than 50 years ago, teens are the most likely demographic to not wear their seat belts. Whether you’re driving alone, with others, or only going a short distance, it’s important that you get into the habit of putting your seatbelt on before starting your vehicle. Seatbelts save lives, so make sure that you and any passengers in your vehicle are wearing their seatbelt.

Put Your Cell Phone Away

Most teens feel they can’t live without their smartphone. There are many distractions that a smartphone can bring, which is a leading cause of crashes for teens. If you use your device when driving, it will take your eyes, mind, and hands off the road, which can result in devastating consequences.

Say No to Peer Pressure

If there is more than one teen in a vehicle, the chances of being involved in a fatal car accident will increase significantly, which is why so many states across the country have enacted graduated driver’s licenses. This reduces the number of passengers a new driver can carry within their car. As a teen, you may be impressionable and want to show off to your friends, however, it’s important that you be mature and say no to peer pressure. Running through red lights, speeding, or driving aggressively will put you and other passengers in danger, so staying in control of the vehicle and being a responsible driver is key.

Utilize Teen Safety Features

There are several automakers who have designed teen driving features that promote safe driving habits. Whether it’s by limiting the car’s top speed, monitoring seat belt usage, or restricting audio volume levels, making use of teen safety technology and features can add an extra layer of protection when driving and reduce your risk of being in a car accident.

Sleep, then Drive

When passing your driving test, it’s only natural that you will want to spend every waking hour driving around and enjoying the new found freedom of the open road, however, it’s important that you are in the best frame of mind before getting in the driving seat. Getting plenty of sleep each night will help you stay focused and boost concentration levels. Sleepiness can impair your attention, coordination skills, and working memory, which will put you at a greater risk of a car crash. If you find yourself in a car accident, it’s important that you find a car accident lawyer who can guide you through your case. As a teen, passing your test and being able to legally drive can be exciting and exhilarating. To stay safe on the road, all the tips above can help keep you in control of the vehicle and minimize your risk of being in a collision.

Car Accident Checklist and Helpful Resources for Teen Drivers

A car accident can be a scary experience for anyone, but it’s especially hard for teen drivers that have not been on the road for that long. Therefore, it is important that you know how to react if you are involved in a car accident, even if you consider yourself to be a responsible and careful driver.

We have put together the following checklist of everything you need to remember if you are involved in a car accident, including some resources that could come in useful!

Check for Injuries

Immediately following a car accident, it is crucial that you stop to check yourself for any injuries before you attempt to move or get out of the car. Moving your body when you are injured could make your injuries worse. Once you know that you are ok, you should also check on any passengers in your car.

Determine whether anyone involved in the car accident requires emergency medical treatment, including anyone in the other vehicle and call the emergency services if you are able.

Stay Calm

Being involved in a car accident is scary and often frustrating. But you should remember to stay calm and not get involved in an argument with the other driver. Do not take the blame yourself or try to blame anyone else for the incident.

Contact the Police

As soon as you have checked that everyone is alright and not in any danger, you should contact the police so that they can assess both drivers and address the situation. If there are any witnesses to the car accident, be sure to get their name and contact information so that you can reach them for a statement in the future if necessary.

Seek Professional Advice

When car accidents occur, there is often some conflict over who is at fault, and this can cause problems for the drivers involved. Therefore, we recommend that you get in touch with an attorney that handles car accident cases who can help to navigate you through the process.

Even if you were not at fault for the car accident and have every right to claim compensation, there is no guarantee that it is going to be easy. An experienced car accident lawyer will have the skills and knowledge required to support you, help you receive what you are entitled to, and help maximize your financial and physical recovery.

Call a Parent or Guardian

If you are a new teen driver, then the procedure that you must follow after a car accident can feel overwhelming and anxiety-provoking. Therefore, it’s a good idea to call a parent, guardian, or trusted adult to attend the scene as soon as possible. This will make the experience easier for you to deal with. Often, when a car accident occurs and a teen driver is involved, they unfairly get the blame. Having an adult with you will provide you with extra support.

Despite how unsettling a car accident can be when you are a teen driver, by following this checklist and using these helpful resources, the process will be easier for you to handle.

3 Tips for Teens Looking at Renting Their First Place

If you are a teen looking for your first place, congratulations! You are entering the exciting world of independent living. However, as exciting as this is, there are many mistakes you can potentially make. Thankfully, many of these errors are easily avoidable. There are many things you can do to better prepare yourself for this new responsibility. Here are three such tips.

Don’t Go Solo

Living on your own is exciting and tempting, but keep in mind it’s a difficult thing to do. Living with roommates will make the type of apartment or house you can rent significantly more affordable. Furthermore, it makes it easier for you to divide up responsibilities, like cleaning and maintenance. Just make sure you only agree to a roommate whom you can trust or who comes highly recommended from someone you know and respect. Be sure to watch out for any red flags in potential roommates.

Watch Out for Scams

As a teen, unscrupulous landlords may look at you as easy prey. Don’t be that person. Instead, be an informed consumer. For example, according to FirstKey Homes, you should look around and compare prices and have a general understanding of the average market value of homes. Remember that if a deal seems too good to be true, then it probably is! Furthermore, if possible, have a lawyer review your lease before you sign it as this document can easily work against you if you sign something without understanding its implications.

Your Credit and Legal History Matter

So you’re young, and you think that you can get away with anything, right? Not so fast. This is the point when the life decisions you have made begin catching up with you. For example, according to Nova Credit, your credit history, or lack thereof, can be used against you when a landlord is making a decision about whether to rent his or her apartment or house to you. The same can apply to a criminal record or other legal mistakes you have made. As such, it’s important to remember that the decisions you make as an adult can matter. Keep that in mind before making a potentially risky financial or legal decision.

Renting a new place can be a tremendously important decision as it can help you learn what it is like to live on your own, build a credit history and create tremendous memories. Just remember that it is a major decision, and you should treat it with respect, diligence and preparation.

It’s Just A Fender Bender, Right? How Much A Minor Accident Can Cost You

The first time behind the wheel is exciting, but for your parents they can be terrified. The minute you get behind the wheel, their insurance rates are going to go up. Of course, their primary concern is your safety, but that won’t stop them from getting upset over even a small accident. Even the smallest of accidents can end up costing you and your parents quite a bit of money. In some cases, it can be up to $5000. Here are a few things that might contribute to those costs.

Primary Costs

If you are at fault in an accident, you are responsible to pay for all primary costs. These costs include healthcare for those involved, and damages to both cars. When you first get out of your car, it may not seem like much happened, but some damages aren’t easily seen. Other passengers may feel fine, but they may end up suffering from whiplash. If they go see a doctor, you may need to pay for it.

Even the car can have unseen damage. All-wheel and rear wheel drive vehicles can sustaindamage to their transmissions in a minor fender bender. This damage won’t be visible but can be heard over time when the engine is running. Transmissions are expensive. If the owner of the other car suspects damage has been done, you could be paying a hefty sum.

Secondary Costs

Secondary costs can be a little difficult to understand. A secondary cost is what you must pay to cover secondary damages. Primary damages are those that are caused directly by the accident. Secondary damages are those that are caused by the primary accident. For example, suppose your fender bender damages the wheel on someone else’s car. If this goes unnoticed, the damaged wheel could cause damage to the car’s axel down the road. If this happens, you could end up providing some type of compensation for both the wheel and the axel. This same concept can apply to medical issues that those involved in the accident experience. Depending on the type of compensation you have to offer, your costs can go way up.

Insurance Costs

Every driver is legally required to have insurance on their car. The amount you pay for insurance depends on the amount of coverage you have on your car and your driving record. Generally, your insurance payments start high, and then go down over time. If, however, you have an accident, your insurance company will consider you a higher risk customer and increase your payments. Depending on the seriousness of the accident, this can cost you and your parents a significant sum.

Legal Costs

If you were the cause of the accident, you can end up paying a hefty fine. Cities and states impose fines on certain behaviors to discourage bad driving practices. For example, in Utah, if you cause injury to another person while texting and driving, you can be fined up to $10,000. What’s more, you could spend 15 years in prison! These punishments may seem strict, but driving is a serious matter. You risk the lives of others when you speed, text, or drink when driving.

Property Costs

Not every small accident is going to involve two cars. It is quite common for drivers to accidentally back their cars into someone’s property. This can be something like a mailbox, a fence, or the wall of a house. If you do this, don’t try to cover it up by driving away. Not only is this dishonest, it is illegal. It is going to be expensive enough to pay the owners the cost of repairing their property. You don’t want to deal with the consequences of a hit and run. If the damage is only to property, a hit and run is usually only a class C misdemeanor. But this still comes along with up to $750 in fines and a 90-day prison stay.

After reading all the costs associated with an accident, hopefully you aren’t too scared to drive. If you are a safe and responsible driver, most of these costs won’t be a problem for you. Just remember, your friends and phone can wait when you are driving. Nothing is more important than arriving safely at your destination.

Advice for Teens on How to Stay Safe When Driving with Friends

Teen drivers love opening the windows, feeling the breeze blow through their hair and blast the radio. An entirely new sense of freedom is earned when teen get their driver’s licenses, but with this new freedom also comes a major responsibility.

Safe driving habits, especially when friends are in the car, can prevent accidents and injuries.

Each year, 2,300+ teens between the ages of 16 and 19 are killed in auto accidents and 300,000 have to be treated for injuries in the emergency room. Inexperience is a major contributing factor to teen accidents, but good decision making behind the wheel is possible if you adhere to safe driving recommendations.

Wear Your Seatbelt

Texas, and many other states, require that drivers wear seatbelts. Your passengers should also be wearing their seatbelts. The risk of death when wearing a seatbelt is reduced by 45% and serious injuries are reduced by 50%.

You always want to reduce the risk of accidents, but wearing a seatbelt is in your control and immediately lowers the risk of death or injuries.

Since most autos have a reminder when you’re not wearing a seatbelt, it’s almost impossible to forget to wear your seatbelt in newer vehicles.

Zero-tolerance for Alcohol

You and your friends should not drink and drive. A lot of teens go to parties, feel the pressure to drink a beer or two (or three), and they wrongly believe they’re sober enough to get behind the wheel.

Don’t take the risk of being impaired and driving.

You’ll put your life, your friends’ lives and the lives of other drivers at risk if you get behind the wheel after drinking. A lot of states have zero-tolerance laws for alcohol. You don’t want to lose your license or freedom to drive when you’ve only just earned them.

Don’t Overcrowd Your Vehicle

Vehicle overcrowding is popular among teens. When your friends need rides and you’re at the same party, movie or event, it’s hard to say “no” if someone asks for a ride. All of a sudden, people are sitting on each other’s laps and your vehicle which normally sits five people is now filled with eight people.

Studies show that when teens have passengers in their vehicles, they’re willing to take more risks and can be distracted more easily.

When three or more people are in the vehicle with a teen, the chances of a fatal crash rise 300% to 400%.

Limit Night Driving

Low visibility increases the risk of a motor vehicle accident at any age. Teens that drive at night are at a much higher risk of being involved in an accident. In 2010, it was found that 39% of teenager fatalities occurred between 9pm and 6am.

Roughly 24% of those accidents occurred after midnight.

Multiple factors are at play here, including:

  • Low visibility
  • Fatigue

If you do have to drive at night, make sure you’re not suffering from fatigue and choose a route that is well-lit.

Be Smart in Bad Weather

Bad weather does not discriminate. Both seasoned drivers and new drivers who just passed their driving tests are at-risk of bad weather causing an accident. Teens have the benefit of being tech-savvy.

Download a local weather app and set up notifications that can help you deal with ice, snow, heavy rains, hail, tornadoes or even flash floods, which are common in Texas.

If you know severe weather is on its way, you can:

  • Stay home
  • Stay at a friend’s house
  • Stay in a non-low-lying area

If you do have to drive through snow or ice, be sure to maintain or lower your speed limit. Do not drive into flooded areas because it’s easy to mistake a puddle for an actual flood.

When roads are blocked, do not go around the road signs and into danger.

As you continue to drive, you’ll learn maneuvers that you can use to prevent skidding on ice or hydroplaning on water. But the best course of action is to practice avoidance to lower your risks of an accident.

Keep Music Levels Moderate

Blasting the music and driving down the highway is almost a rite of passage for teens, but you need to be able to hear sirens and horns around you. If you live in a major city, like Houston, you’ll be in trouble if you can’t hear your surroundings.

It’s better to keep music levels moderate to be more aware of your surroundings.

Pets Shouldn’t Be Lap Passengers

Pets can be great companions in a car, but they can also be a danger. If you plan on driving with a dog, keep the dog in the backseat with a divider between you and the dog. Driving with a dog that’s loose, scared or in your lap is dangerous.

A dog that becomes frightened or that jumps into your lap is a major distraction and can quickly lead to an accident.

Put Down Your Phone

Distracted driving was a factor in 8.5% of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2019. If you’re at a stoplight, look around you and you’ll be sure to see people of all ages on their phones. A text message or notification can divert your attention long enough to cause an accident.

You should put your phone down when driving.

It’s tempting to send someone a Snap or to FaceTime someone while driving, but the risk is too high. You put your life and the lives of other drivers at risk when you’re driving and texting, taking pictures or trying to send someone a message on Instagram.

Apps can be downloaded and installed, which won’t allow you to use your phone when your vehicle is in motion.

If you have to make a call or text someone back, pull into a parking lot where you can safely park the vehicle and respond.

It only takes a second or two of distraction to get in an accident.

Teenagers deserve to make lifelong plans with their friends that they can keep. Safe driving is the key for you, as a teen and adult, to have fun and freedom without putting your life at-risk unnecessarily.

The Right to Vote: What You Need to Know About Becoming a Registered Voter

Voting is one of the cornerstones of American democracy, but in order to actually cast a ballot, you have to register to do so first. While this is usually easy, there are three things you have to keep in mind before you register to vote.

How to Register

The ways that you can register to vote depend on your state. Some states accept only paper forms for voter registrations, and other states allow you to register to vote online. Furthermore, there are different identification requirements for registration and voting, all of which vary by state. While these requirements are not usually overwhelming, it’s better to check what you need before you actually register to vote so that you can get it done right and make sure you’re registered in time for the next election.

Your Responsibilities

Being registered to vote does require some responsibilities. In most states, you have to vote at least once every few years in order to stay active and on the voter lists. If you register to vote in another state, you will have to make sure that you do not attempt to vote in the old location. Keep in mind that registered voters may be called to serve on a jury, although it is also possible to be called to serve on a jury if you aren’t registered.

Deadlines and Timeframes

Deadlines as to when you can register to vote vary from state to state. Some states are more restrictive, requiring you to register up to a month or longer before a primary or general election. Other states, however, allow for same-day voter registration. This means that you can actually register to vote and then cast your very first ballot on the same day. Keep in mind that the above notes about how you can register to vote may impact deadlines as well. For example, states with same-day registration options may require that you register at a county courthouse, or you may be able to register directly at your polling place from an internet-connected device.

As you can see, the specifics about where, when and how you can register to vote vary wildly. This is because voter registration is a state-run procedure. You have to check with the state in which you are registering to vote for more information about requirements. However, this is all part of the duty that comes with being a good citizen and an active voter. Just make sure you know what is needed before you actually register to vote.

Related: How Can I Understand Politics? Tips for Teens