Your teen is likely to be itching to hit the road. Our guide to car insurance and driver safety can help you and your teen steer clear of driving dangers.
Every teen dreams of the moment where they put their car keys in the ignition and hit the road by themselves for the first time. For parents, this moment can be filled with worry even if their teen has been practicing from the moment they first got their learner’s permit (https://www.dmv.com/learners-permit). It’s a moment when a parent can be filled with both pride and concern for their child. I can vividly remember watching my daughter back out of the driveway to hit the road by herself for the first time. I wanted to call and check up on her the minute she drove out of my view.
When your child is ready to spread their wings and drive, there’s really nobody that can stop them. Though, as parents, we can definitely get them to slow down and follow the speed limit at the very least. Here are some tips on how to promote safe driving from your teen and ensuring that they have the insurance they need before they hit the road. Hopefully, they help both you and your teen driver feel safer and more comfortable when they first set out on their journey as drivers.
Teaching Your Teen About Driving Safety
Ease Into Driving
The best way to make sure that your teenager is a safe driver when they get their license is to teach them about safe driving as soon as they get their learner’s permit (https://www.dmv.com/learners-permit). When I first began driving with my daughter, we started with supervised driving sessions that lasted about 20 minutes. As her confidence behind the wheel grew, we started driving longer and farther. I believe that easing her into driving helped her become a confident driver without putting too much pressure on her right off the bat.
After she gained more experienced on the road, we practiced driving in various conditions like at night or in the rain. While it was scary for us both, I think it would have been way scarier for her if she got caught in a storm and never practiced driving in those conditions. More often than not, you and your teen will feel more secure and confident if you practice driving in different conditions together.
Discuss the Risks of Driving
Although they’ve probably heard it a million times already (I know my daughter has), it’s important to remind your teenager that irresponsible and aggressive driving can be dangerous. Teens can sometimes underestimate the danger of bad driving habits like speeding and tailgating. They can also underestimate the value of a seat belt. The best way to beat bad habits is my squashing them before they even start.
One of the biggest and most common concerns nowadays is distracted driving. Our kids (and a lot of us) always have our phones at our fingertips, and while it has made the world more accessible, it has also made driving more dangerous. Driving a car is a huge responsibility that demands our undivided attention. Talk to your teen about the importance of putting the cell phone down and remaining focused while driving.
Even more dangerous than distracted driving, teenagers driving while impaired has become a national concern. Although it’s illegal, the reality is that a lot of teenagers are drinking and driving. Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol compromises a driver’s judgement, coordination and reflexes. Combined with driving inexperience, drugs or alcohol can be deadly. It may be a difficult conversation, but it’s one you’ll both be glad you had.
Set a Good Example
As much as we like to tell our kids, “Do as I say, not as I do,” most learn better from example. This is true for driving habits too. That’s why it is so incredibly important that you always wear your seat belt, drive defensively and avoid distracted driving, especially when you’re in the car with a novice driver. When my daughter first got her learner’s permit, she started to really observe what I was doing while driving. I didn’t want to tell my daughter to see me using my phone after I just talked to her about distracted driving, so I quickly had to get my own bad driving habits in check.
Car Insurance for Your Teenager
When you’re teenager is ready for his or her very own driver’s license, it’s time to think about car insurance. Typically, adding a new driver to your existing auto insurance is cheaper than purchasing a new stand-alone policy. Depending on your circumstances, one option may be more viable than the other. Regardless of which option you choose, your teen must be insured before they can legally begin driving by themselves.
Once your teen is insured, make sure that they keep their insurance card in a safe and easy-to-reach place in their car. Usually, keeping your proof of insurance with your vehicle registration is a good idea. When my daughter got pulled over for the first time, she called me afterwards and thanked me for storing her registration and insurance neatly in her glove compartment. I think she might have fainted if the officer walked up to her window and she couldn’t find her paperwork. If they ever need to show proof of insurance and registration, your teen will be incredibly thankful (and possibly relieved) that they know where everything is.
Guest Post: DMV.com