The first time your teen gets behind the wheel signals the first step toward independence and adulthood. As a parent, there are always concerns about safety on the road. It’s important for teens to remember that although the freedom that comes with driving is exciting, that freedom comes with significant responsibility. Here are some basic driving tips from CarsDirect that parents and young drivers should always keep in mind.

Keep Your Hands on the Wheel
Many people, especially new drivers, have trouble following this simple suggestion. Before your car leaves the driveway, adjust your mirrors, your seat and anything else you may have to before taking off. Doing this prevents you from having to make these adjustments while driving, which can easily take your eyes off of the road and create a dangerous situation.

Turn Your Cell Phone Off
Studies have shown that driving while trying to send out a text message is just as dangerous as driving drunk. Do yourself, and everyone else on the road, a favor and turn your phone off. Turning it off is the easiest way to avoid a distraction from a message or a call. If you really need to use your phone in an emergency situation, pull over first. Never talk on the phone while driving. In some states, this is illegal and a ticketable offense.

Wear Your Seat belt
Wearing a seat belt is scientifically proven to help prevent injury in an accident and not wearing your seat belt is a ticketable offense in 49 of the 50 states. Save yourself the hassle, and the money, and just wear your seat belt- it could save your life.

Obey the Speed Limit
Speeding is a major cause of traffic crashes, so always obey the posted speed limit. More drivers are convicted of speeding than any other offense. Slow down in rain, fog, snow and ice, and keep at least twice the normal stopping distance between you and vehicle in front of you.

Stay in Your Lane
Pay close attention to what lane you are driving in and the cars in the other lanes. If you cut a person off you can cause an accident, or a backup in traffic. Be sure to check your blind spots when switching lanes.

Give Yourself Enough Time
Instead of racing to your destination because you are running late, plan ahead and give yourself enough time to get where you’re going safely, without the speeding. You’ll be safe and save money on traffic tickets and car insurance.

Be Prepared
Sooner or later it will happen to you, a breakdown in the middle of nowhere. Be prepared for a roadside emergency with a carefully stocked emergency kit. At all times you should have in your car: a battery charger (or jumper cables), a first-aid kit, a flashlight, Fix-a-Flat, some energy or granola bars, bottled water, rags, a multi-purpose tool and a pocketknife. Also, make sure you have a spare tire and jack, and learn how to safely change a flat tire.