Ah, freedom... if learning to drive is on the horizon for your teenager, he or she is probably thrilled about the prospect of getting to travel outside the confines of your schedule and neighborhood. You, on the other hand, might be thrilled about not having to drive them everywhere but the excitement ends there.
This is to be expected: Teens are some of the worst drivers out there. In fact, motor vehicle crashes are the primary cause of death for people ages 16 to 19. The good news is that many of the factors that contribute to teen auto accidents are within the driver's control. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), accidents involving teen drivers usually become serious or deadly due to preventable factors, like not wearing a seatbelt, drinking, texting or having other teen passengers in the car.
Here are some tips to keep your teenager safe (and your stress level down) while they are learning to drive, and in the aftermath of getting a license:
Parents' Role in Teen Driving Education:
Just because your teenager passed the driving test doesn't mean he or she is ready to be cut loose. Parents can play an important part in decreasing the risk of accident or injury for a newly-minted motorist. After they have cleared the hoops and earned a provisional license, the NSC suggests parents create a contract with their teen driver and slowly increase privileges only if he or she demonstrates responsible driving habits. In addition, experts suggest that parents continue to practice driving skills with their teen for at least 30 minutes each week for six months after they are done with driver's ed.
Insuring a Teen Driver:
Most likely, a teenager with a learner's permit will be covered under your insurance policy, but it's a good idea to let your insurer know that your teen is driving and make sure they are protected. Once your teen earns a license, he or she may need to be officially added to your policy. Yes, your rates will probably increase; but in most cases it will be less expensive than purchasing a standalone policy for your teen. Ask about discounts for good grades or a clean driving record once your teen gets some experience under her belt. Owning a car with a solid safety record and modern safety features can also reduce the cost of your premium. Finally, teens who take additional driver's safety courses may also qualify for reduced rates.
Enforcing Rules of the Road:
Teens are most likely to get in an accident during the first few months of getting a license, and that risk increases if they have teen passengers in the car. Insist that your teen drive with no more than one passenger unless there is also an adult in the car. Similarly, most motor vehicle accidents involving teens happen in the evening or at night, so it's a great idea to limit your teen's nighttime driving, if possible.
Modeling good habits:
Drinking, texting while driving and other risky behaviors only increase the chance that your teen will be in a serious accident. If you regularly drive with teens, be sure to model safe habits by always wearing your own seatbelt and insisting passengers wear theirs; and not speeding, texting or engaging in other distractions while behind the wheel.
For any car insurance questions, call or contact Mathews Insurance, Inc. today.