Safety Tips for Concerned Parents to Share with Their Teen Drivers
As the parent of a teen driver it’s a good bet your child’s enthusiasm at the thought of getting a driver’s license is dwarfed by your concern and stress level. But, by sharing a few safety tips with your teen beforehand, you could help reduce their odds of having an accident.
Acting responsibly behind the wheel is a major factor in keeping your new teen driver safe since motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15- to 20-year olds. (More than half of such fatalities are linked to passengers not wearing a seatbelt.) Be sure to emphasize to your child the importance of wearing their lap and shoulder belt whether driving or riding in a friend’s car. Air bags won’t save them in a rollover.
Statistics show that immaturity and lack of driving experience are the two main causes of the high crash rates among teens. Because judgment comes with experience, teen drivers are more likely to engage in dangerous practices, including speeding and tailgating, as well as overreacting to a situation by swerving when it may not be necessary and losing control.
The Insurance Information Institute recommends the following tips:
- Enroll Your Teen in a Driver’s Education Course
Before you go shopping for a car for your teen, enroll them in a driver’s education course. The driving practice with an instructor will make them more able to react to hazardous situations they may encounter on the road. Additionally, auto insurance companies tend to offer discounts for teens who have completed the course.
- Pick a Safe Car for Your Teen
Your teen will undoubtedly have a dream car in mind as their first ride, but you and your child should choose a vehicle that makes sense. It should be easy to drive and provide the protection to keep them safe. Therefore, avoid small cars and high performance vehicles that might tempt them to speed or drive recklessly.
The same goes for trucks and SUVs because they are more prone to rollovers and also come with higher car insurance rates.
- Discuss the Dangers of Drug and Alcohol Use
Talk to your teen about the dangers of drinking or taking drugs and driving. This includes not getting into a car if the driver is under the influence. Let your teen know you’ll be there for them should they need a safe way home.
- Discuss the Dangers of Distracted Driving
Discuss with your teen the importance of staying alert and keeping their eyes on the road at all times and to only focus on driving when behind the wheel. Avoid texting, phoning or taking selfies as all are extremely dangerous practices that could seriously injure them or friends riding with them.
- Set a Good Example
Chances are your kids have been watching you drive for some time. It isn’t unusual for our teens to pick up some of our bad habits behind the wheel. If they’ve seen you lose your temper at other drivers, swear, and use obscene gestures, they may adopt those same habits when they get their driver’s license.
- Final Note
Your teen can’t drive without auto insurance any more than you can. Let them know that if you add them to your policy, you expect them to be responsible whenever they get behind the wheel. Your rates will increase, but having a careless, irresponsible teen driving around the neighborhood on your policy could make them unaffordable.
Whenever you can, quietly observe your teen’s driving habits by riding along with them on errands. The more driving they get under their belt the better and safer drivers they’ll be.