- Location: Montana
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While here in Montana, you'll find that traffic accidents are the leading cause of death with its teenagers. It's a sobering statistic that may soon change.
Before the state passed a graduated driving law in July 2006, Montana ranked as the only state without any special teenage driving restrictions or requirements―not surprising when you consider that only approximately a decade before, the State removed speed limit signs from its Interstate. The main provisions of this law include:
- Requiring new teenage drivers to have at least 50 hours of driving experience, including 10 hours at night, before being allowed to apply for a license.
- No driving between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. during a teenager's first year of owning a license except in certain job-related circumstances.
- During a teenager's first 6 months of owning a license, he or she won't be allowed to have more than 1 passenger under 18 years old, other than family members, in the vehicle he or she is driving.
If you're a teenager, do anything legally possible to gain driving experience before applying for a license. Read Montana's Driver License Manual. Use your Learner's License to drive at every chance. The more hours you practice behind the wheel the more hours you may be adding to your own life.
Tips for new drivers
Here's a little friendly advice for new drivers from someone who's been there. They don't teach you everything in school!
- Don't make or receive calls on your cell phone while you are driving. It's bad karma, everyone else on the road will be irritated with you, and you won't realize you're going too slow and swerving all over the place until you cause an accident. Same goes for applying makeup while driving: just don't!
- Don't under any circumstances send a text message when you're at the wheel.
- Wear your seatbelt every time you get into a car, even for a short ride. Something as common as stopping suddenly to avoid a cat darting across the street can cause your face to meet your steering wheel. The results won't be pretty, and your prom date will find an excuse to back out.
- Be vigilant for other drivers who are not as with it as you are, and keep your distance. You never know when they will decide to enter your space (since they won't bother to signal), and the element of surprise isn't as fun on the road as it is at a birthday party.
- Install a dog barrier in the back of your car before taking Rover for a ride.
- Obey speed limits so that you will have time to react should an unexpected obstacle (a person, another car, an animal) appear.
- Listen to your stereo at a low enough volume that you can hear emergency sirens. Those fire trucks are a lot bigger than your vehicle, so you'll want to know one is approaching before it runs you over.
- Take it easy, pay attention, and take the rules of the road seriously.
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