Happy #TeenDriverSafetyWeek! Learning to drive can be a great time in a teenager’s life, and a bit stressful for parents. While driving gives teenagers more independence, it also comes with many new responsibilities.
Here at Quincy Mutual Group, we know that education is key to success, which is why we’ve compiled some important tips for parents and teens. Talk to your teen driver about these safe driving best practices — and don’t forget to always set a good example!
Before you go:
Consider a safe driving course
Safe driving courses, like In Control, are a great resource for drivers of all experience levels. Students learn about safe driving techniques along with information about how to avoid common accident scenarios.
Maintain your vehicle
Proper vehicle maintenance is crucial to safe driving. Make sure your child is familiar with dashboard notifications, like the check engine light, and has a schedule for routine maintenance.
Always buckle up
It’s not just the law, it’s also common sense. This is an especially important issue with teen drivers — according to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in fatal crashes of 16-20 year olds, 60% were unbuckled at the time of the crash. Make sure your teenager knows that anytime they are in the car, whether they’re driving or a passenger, they should have a seat belt on.
Make adjustments before you leave
This is particularly important if your child is sharing a vehicle with you. Remind them to adjust the headrest and check their mirrors before they start driving.
Take care of any necessary tasks
Setting a GPS, eating, and grooming are all distractions for drivers. Make sure your child knows to take care of these things before they turn the car on, to help them minimize distractions while they’re driving.
When you’re on the road:
Put the phone away
This is a big one — just put the phone away. No text, call, or notification is worth your life, or the life of someone else on the road. If self control is an issue for your teenager, you can consider one of these apps that prevents phone usage when driving. If your child has an iPhone, you can also enable the ‘Do Not Disturb While Driving’ function.
Talk to your child about the dangers of driving under the influence. Set clear rules for your teenager and make sure to know where they are going and what they are doing, especially on nights and weekends.
Teens especially can exhibit poor judgement and be more impulsive when driving. This combined with their relative inexperience behind the wheel can be a deadly combination. When you practice driving with your child, make sure to emphasize the importance of obeying the speed limits as a way to maintain control of your car. Don’t forget to mention the cost of speeding tickets and the subsequent increases in your insurance premium!
Practice defensive driving
For new drivers, defensive driving does not always come naturally. Remind your child to be observant of their surroundings and to give cars in front of them enough space. Tips like noticing brake lights and turn signals on cars ahead of you can also be helpful.
Limit passengers in your car
The more people in your car when you’re driving, the more distractions you face. New drivers should limit the number of passengers in their car and make sure their passengers are working to minimize distractions, not create more.
Here’s one last tip — make sure you have the right insurance policy! We work with over 500 independent insurance agents who can help adjust your car insurance policy when it’s time to add on a new driver. Find one near you today: http://bit.ly/2vlZa7N