Written by Heidi McBroome, Insurance Agent at All About Insurance.
Because teenagers are new drivers, they simply don’t have the behind-the-wheel experience necessary to understand the dynamics associated with driving a motor vehicle. There’s a vast difference between riding in the passenger seat and being behind the wheel. By teaching teenagers responsible driving behavior, you can help prevent crashes. Here are a few ways to help your teenager through the Graduated Driver’s Licensing period.
- Choose vehicles for safety, not image. Ask if the car has airbags and antilock brakes? Make sure it is not brand new, but has 4 doors, front wheel or all-wheel drive for good all-around practical safety on the road.
- Provide new drivers with plenty of supervised driving practice, even after they have obtained a license, including night driving and driving under hazardous road conditions. Go above the required amount of driving instruction. And have them drive you around even after they are licensed.
- Mandate safety belt usage. It is a primary offense and the ticket is going to impact more than just the points they lose. It will raise insurance rates and cause a disruption to daily routine if you have to go to court.
- Restrict the number of passengers allowed to ride with your teenage driver. Crash rates increase sharply when a teenage driver has passengers, particularly other teenagers.
- Enforce “no drinking and driving” rules. I would add no eating either.
- Emphasize that safe driving requires your teen’s full attention. Distractions such as cell phone use, navigation, social media, radio, and text messaging will greatly increase his or her risk of motor vehicle-related injury.
- Place restrictions on nighttime driving to enforce curfews.
- Enroll new drivers in a driving school to educate them about cars, driving conditions and driving techniques. This will prepare teenagers for the road, and it could reduce crashes.
- Discuss and reinforce responsible driving behavior with teenagers.
- Have a contract between you to create the discussion. (Here is an example of one you can use: https://www.cdc.gov/MotorVehicleSafety/pdf/Driving_Contract-a.pdf)