- Location: New Jersey
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New Jersey's requirements for the three-phase graduated driver's license and the many months of supervised and unsupervised driving practice are designed to develop the skills of new drivers gradually so that when they do encounter dangerous situations, they are prepared. The importance of this type of training can't be underestimated; teen driving accidents and deaths in the state have plummeted since these measures were introduced.
Below are some facts about driving-related risks and how to avoid them. We've also included information about what to do if you do find yourself involved in a traffic accident. By enrolling in a state-approved driver education course and practicing driving under supervision, hopefully you can avoid being ticketed or worse, being involved in an accident.
Even though you're just starting out and most other drivers on the road have more expertise, there's a lot you can do to avoid trouble on the road. Since most accidents are caused by driver error, you will want to master the skill of driving defensively―in other words, not letting other drivers' mistakes cause an accident with you. This means learning what to do in any situation that calls for a quick driving decision and avoiding panic at the same time.
Here are just a few commonsense tips for safe driving on the highway:
- Don't pass or change lanes unless you really need to. Every lane change is an opportunity for a collision.
- Don't tailgate; if you don't tailgate, you're unlikely ever to rear-end someone.
- Check your mirrors; be alert to what the traffic ahead of you and behind you is doing.
- To give other drivers the opportunity to let you in or otherwise get out of your way, signal every lane change. This also alerts other motorists that you are now in a different spot than you were, making it less likely they'll inadvertently try to go there themselves.
In New Jersey, distracted drivers are often ticketed for careless driving. Careless driving includes trying to eat, read, shave, apply makeup, or hold pets. When you are behind the wheel, your attention must be focused on driving alone. In fact, New Jersey law dictates that you use a hands-free device with your wireless phone or pull off the road to use it―otherwise you could be fined $100.
New Jersey's driver's manual has an entire chapter about defensive driving that can help you stay out of trouble.
State law requires drivers to notify police if an accident causes injury, death, or car or property damage. If you are involved in an accident, whether you are at fault or not, you should cooperate with the police or state troopers by answering their questions truthfully and providing as much information about the accident as possible.
If you hit a parked car, notify the police and try to find the owner. You should leave a note with your personal and contact information, along with your license number, if you can't find the driver.
Any New Jersey driver who is convicted of a moving violation is assessed points for each conviction. This is true even for new teen drivers. When you accumulate points for multiple traffic tickets, you might lose your license, you'll pay hefty fines, and your car insurance is likely to go up. You can even go to jail.
Remember, too, that motor vehicle laws also cover boaters, moped drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Just as with automobiles, those who operate other kinds of vehicles can be ticketed and might even have to appear in municipal court.
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