When your kids expressed interest in learning a new sport or musical instrument, you probably turned to experts to help them hone their skill level. You can follow a similar path when your teen is learning to drive. When talking about the dangers of distracted driving and the importance of safe driving, use these driving tips from the best drivers on the planets - professional racecar drivers.

In the United States, NASCAR is the most popular type of racing. Popular NASCAR drivers today include Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, and Brad Keselowski.  

Here are seven important driving safety tips we can learn from professional drivers:

1. Look at least two seconds ahead.

Inexperienced drivers can make the mistake of focusing only on the car immediately in front of them. While it is important to maintain a safe gap between you and the car in front of you, it's also important to get into the habit of looking at least two seconds in front of you; this equates to about 150 feet for a car traveling 50 mph. This helps you look for potential dangers ahead. Racecar drivers do this for safety reasons, as well as for planning how to safely pass slower cars on the race track.

2. Seatbelts save lives.

Yes, NASCAR drivers use safety restraints and they are much more restrictive than our typical passenger car seat and shoulder belts. The fact is, a relatively minor car crash can become a tragically fatal event, because unbelted drivers or passengers are often ejected from the car and suffer fatal injuries from the ground impact.

3. Never ignore road conditions.

Racecar drivers have learned how to adapt and adjust to changing road conditions, such as rain, snow, or loose gravel. Emphasize how important it is to proceed more cautiously when road conditions deteriorate.

4. Put down the cell phone.

2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion driver Brad Keselowski strongly advises all drivers to "keep distractions to a minimum when driving. And don't even think about texting or glancing at smartphone apps."

5. Sit slightly closer to the wheel.

Have you ever watched the in-car videos in NASCAR races? If you have, you may have noticed the drivers sit very close to the steering wheel - (no, they're not trying to imitate their grandma).This driving method allows drivers to catch a slide or other potential out-of-control incident more easily. Sitting closer helps the arm muscles fire more rapidly, which generates faster reaction speeds. Yes, being too close to the airbag can be a safety hazard, but moving slightly closer and keeping the seatback straight up improves control and reaction speed. Move your seat forward one inch and see how much more control you have in your arms.

6. Use your mirrors.

Check all your mirrors regularly while driving and look for potential problems. Since most families have multiple drivers, remind your teen to adjust the mirrors to the right spot for them before they begin driving.

7. Keep a safe distance back.

Maintain a safe gap, at least two to three seconds, between you and the car in front of you, so you can safely stop quickly if needed.

Being aware, alert and focused is the best way to drive for everyone, but especially for teens who have little experience with all the road dangers that can unexpectedly occur. As well, consider our Cellcontrol safe driving solution, which disables your teen's smartphone as soon as they get in the driver's seat. Read our blog post for more safety tips and distracted driving statistics to share with your teen.

The Ultimate Safety Checklist for Parents of New Drivers