For teenagers, getting their license is one of life’s most exciting moments. However, with motor vehicle accidents being the second leading cause of death for U.S. teenagers, it’s also a big responsibility. As a parent, providing your teen with the appropriate resources and safety advice is crucial to ensure they stay safe on the road. So before handing off the keys to your newly-licensed driver, here are a few safety tips for teenage drivers that will promote safe driving.
1. Remove Distractions
Texting, posting to social media, and searching for the perfect song while driving are all forms of distractions that could lead to an accident. However, driving distractions can take many forms besides cell phone use. For example, having excess passengers, eating, or applying make-up are also potential distractions.
When driving, any distraction is a dangerous distraction. When your teen’s eyes aren’t on the road, they significantly reduce their ability to react to potential road hazards. As a parent, it’s necessary to teach your teen drivers that while replying to a text may only take 5 seconds, those 5 seconds could cost a life.
To prevent distractions, encourage your teenage drivers to put their phones on “do not disturb” when on the road. Should they need to make a phone call, it’s recommended that they safely pull over to the side of the road before picking up the phone. In addition, limit the number of passengers your teenage driver is allowed to have in their vehicle.
2. Get to Know Their Vehicle
It’s no secret that every car handles differently. For example, cruising in a two-seater coupe is much different than cruising in a 4×4 pick-up truck.
When they first obtain their license, teenage drivers may be eager to hop in any car, start the engine, and take off. But before doing so, it’s important that they sit with someone familiar with the car, or read through their vehicle’s manual to get to know the car they will be driving. Newer car models may come with advanced features that teenage drivers may be unfamiliar with.
When possible, we recommend that your teen learns to drive in the car that will be their primary vehicle. This will help them feel comfortable operating the vehicle solo. It’s also a best practice to teach your teen basic car maintenance. Understanding how to check their tire pressure, change a flat tire, refill wiper fluid and check oil levels is beneficial for any driver, regardless of age.
3. Discuss the Dangers of Drug and Alcohol Use
No one should ever drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. As a parent, you must discuss the dangers of impaired driving with your teen. Not only is drunk driving illegal in every state, but it can also result in serious consequences, if not death. Additionally, remind your teen never to get into a vehicle with someone who has been drinking.
Although drinking under the age of 21 is illegal, data from the CDC shows that in 2019, 24% of drivers aged 15-20 who were killed in a motor accident had been drinking.
Despite your best efforts, it’s possible that your teenager may one day engage in activities that they shouldn’t. To combat this, build trust with your teen and tell them to call you, another trusted adult, or an Uber if they need a safe ride home.
4. Always Buckle Up
A seat belt is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the likelihood of severe injury or death in a car crash. Unfortunately, seat belt use is among the lowest for teen drivers. When teens begin driving, developing crucial safe driving practices is essential. Teach your teens to buckle up every time they enter a vehicle, regardless of who is driving.
As a parent, it’s key that you also set an example for your teenage driver. By being a role model and always wearing a seat belt yourself, you influence your children to do the same. If your teen has grown up routinely witnessing you drive with a seat belt on, they’ll likely do the same once they get to drive.
It can’t hurt to frequently remind your teenage driver to wear their seat belt. They must understand this isn’t a one-time event but an ongoing effort for as long as they operate a vehicle. It only takes a couple of seconds to buckle up, but doing so could save a life.
5. Follow the Speed Limit
When they first obtain their license, your teen may have visions of themselves speeding down the highway. Not only is speeding illegal, but it’s also extremely dangerous.
Teach your teenage drivers to always follow the speed limit, no matter how clear the roads are. As your teen becomes more experienced, they may have a tendency to increase their speed. To prevent this, parents should take an active role in their teen’s driving. Be sure to monitor their driving habits whenever riding with them.
As previously mentioned, being a good role model can help discourage unfavorable driving habits. It’s essential that you be consistent with your messaging and your own driving behaviors. When driving with your teen, set a good example by following the speed limit and reminding them to do so as well.
6. Practice, Then Practice Some More
Teenage drivers can never get enough practice, so it’s vital that they regularly gain more driving experience. Consider allowing your teen to do most of the driving for the family on the weekends. Going to the store? Running errands? In these situations, allow your teen to drive while you’re the passenger. That way, you can gauge how well your teen is driving, and they’ll feel more comfortable than driving alone.
Auto Insurance for Teenage Drivers
Depending on your teen’s age, they may first obtain an instructional permit that allows them to begin learning to drive. During this stage, most insurance companies will cover them as a “permit driver” under the supervising driver’s insurance policy. However, once your teen receives their license, they’ll need to be added as a “listed driver” or purchase a separate policy.
Once they’re a listed driver, having a teen onto your policy will increase your rates—sometimes by a lot. Still, it’ll likely be cheaper than if your teen were to purchase their own separate policy. If you’re looking to add a teenage driver to your policy, the AIS team can run rate comparisons with different insurers to help you find the most affordable plan. Our insurance specialists will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Contact us today at (888) 772-4247, or start a free quote online.
The information in this article is obtained from various sources and is offered for educational purposes. Furthermore, it should not replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.