Cooper and Race Car Driver Focus on Teen Driving
Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is leaning on its partnership with 19-year-old race car driver Tristan Nunez to spread the word about teen driving safety and also share safety tips during National Teen Driver Safety Week, Oct. 18 through Oct. 24.
Nunez is a professional driver and distracted driving prevention advocate who quickly rose in the world of professional auto racing as a full-time driver in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series. Nunez launched the Dnt txt n drV Foundation in 2014 and is a passionate advocate for distracted driving prevention, making numerous appearances at high schools throughout his racing schedule and speaking at some of the nation’s most important driving safety forums.
Nunez also will represent Cooper during the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) Teen Safe Driving Summit, which is the official kickoff to the teen safety week. The summit began five years ago with a focus on preventing distracted driving, but it's broadened its agenda this year to include safety issues such as seat belt use, speeding, impaired driving, auto safety, and, thanks to Cooper's involvement, tire safety.
Nearly 100 youth and advisors from over 20 states are attending the three-day summit. They are responsible for going back to their communities and sharing what they have learned with peers.
On behalf of Cooper, Nunez is addressing safety issues during National Teen Driver Safety Week, sharing tips that both he and Cooper hope all drivers—especially young ones—will put into action every day.
“As a professional race car driver, safety is a top priority, but I am actually more concerned about it when driving on city streets than on the race track,” says Nunez. “There are so many drivers who seem to be thinking about everything but safety when they are behind the wheel. We all have places to go and we’re all busy, but we can’t forget that making it to our destination safely is the top priority."
Nunez’s safe driving tips:
- Remove a key distraction by turning off your phone. If it is still in your line of sight and is too much of a temptation, lock it way in your glove box or put it in the back seat where it won’t be visible or available.
- Don’t eat, apply makeup or engage in other activities that take your hands off the wheel and your eyes off the road. Take care of these things before you leave home or wait until you arrive at your destination.
- Don’t text or use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other social media while driving. If traveling with friends, appoint one who is not driving as your “designated texter.” Have that person stay in touch with others so there is no distraction for the driver.
- Don’t text family or friends when you know they are driving. Allow them to arrive safely at their destination.
- Speak up. Call out parents, siblings, friends and others who are engaged in distracted driving. Tell them that they must stop. Most of the time, they will. If not, make the choice not to ride with them and be clear about why.
In addition to the driving advice, Nunez and Cooper are focusing on three key tire safety tips.
- Tire pressure: Drivers are advised to check their tire pressure when tires are cool—at least three hours after the last time a vehicle has been driven—and to be sure they know the proper tire pressure for their vehicle. The correct tire pressure is not shown on the tire, but is listed in the car’s owner’s manual, on the door jamb, or the glove box door. Properly inflated tires lead to better control of the vehicle, improved fuel consumption and help avoid uneven tread wear.
- Tread depth: Proper tread depth helps tires maintain traction, improve handling and prevent hydroplaning on wet roads. Drivers can check tread depth with a common U.S. penny or a tread depth indicator.
- Tire condition: It’s important that tires are routinely checked for cuts, cracks, splits, punctures and bulges, which could cause tire failure. Cooper advises drivers to check the condition of their tires before every lengthy road trip and at least monthly.