Tips for Your Teenage Driver

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Spring is here and there will be more younger drivers on the road. The greatest risk of auto accidents is amongst teenage drivers. The crash rate of teenagers ages sixteen to nineteen is 2.7 times higher than for drivers of all ages-according to the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Here are helpful tips for parents who have teenagers obtaining their licenses and driving for the first time.

Establish ground rules for the use of the vehicle in the form of a contract.

Because a “contract” is a document, it is easier to access once rules are broken. Relying solely on memory doesn’t always work-especially months later. These rules should include where, when and how the car may be used.  A parent needs to establish driving vicinities, curfew times, if they’re allowed to have friends in their vehicles, etc.  Parents should also give specified use of the radio or navigational systems. If rules are not followed; driving privileges should be revoked until your teenager not only understands the reason for revocation but, are ready to follow the rules. Emphasize that driving is a privilege not, a right.  This goes for all drivers – not just teenagers.

Keep distractions to an absolute minimum.

Distractions include eating, chatting with friends, and switching the radio dial. Distractions also include texting while driving. Ban texting and cell phone use altogether. Parents should emphasize that cell phones be turned off and unavailable while the teen is driving. Prohibit drinking and driving. Prohibit any drug use while driving-including, but not limited to, prescription and over-the-counter medications.  There should be no exceptions to these ironclad rules and, it pertains to all drivers-no matter how old the driver is!  To read more on distracted driving-please see our recent blog:
Distracted Driving…Why Risk It?

Have your teenager not only follow all of the rules of the road but practice defensive driving.

Encourage your teenage driver to take a defensive driver course.  Not only will your teen learn defensive driving techniques but, many carriers give policy discounts on your insurance premiums. Click for more information on the Defensive Driver courses. Techniques of defensive driving include maintaining a safe distance from cars ahead of the driver, closely monitoring traffic in adjacent lanes.  Encourage your teenager to not only follow the rules of the road but follow the speed limit! Research indicates that high driving speed is the significant contributor to fatal teen accidents.

Choose a safe automobile for your teenager.

Autos with excellent crash safety records and the latest safety equipment, including air bags and electronic stability control, could reduce your teen’s chances of being injured in an auto accident.  Here is what Kelley Blue Book rates as some of the safest vehicles to drive.  I hope this article was helpful to parents who have teenagers obtaining their drivers’ licenses and are looking for a quick guide as how to approach your teen driver.  Best of luck and safe driving!

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