Teenagers are the most at-risk age group for car accidents. Consequently, they also have some of the highest auto insurance premium rates. The combination of still-developing driving skills and poor judgement can create dangerous situations for teenagers behind the wheel.
While safe driving can help reduce the cost of your teen’s insurance bills, it’s important to teach good driving habits to keep teenagers safe while on the roads. Not only will best practices take away some of parents’ anxiety while trusting kids with the car, it will also promote better driving in the years to come.
To help new teenage drivers stay safe, follow these tips:
Always Wear a Seatbelt
Not wearing a seatbelt is against the law. Even so, teenagers are the least likely to wear seatbelts, both as drivers and passengers. Some teens may not feel they need seat belts, while others might think they are potentially harmful. This couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Seatbelts save lives. In a crash, drivers and passengers alike may fly around the cabin or even out of the car without a seat belt, which can cause severe injuries and death. Make sure your teen understands the purpose of a seatbelt and always wears it.
Teenagers face an almost unparalleled level of excitement when it comes to being behind the wheel. Both lack of awareness and intent can contribute to teenagers speeding, which increases the risk of accidents. Always encourage your teenager to follow the proper speed limit and slow down when necessary.
Limit Night Driving
California provisional licenses require adults aged 25 or older to accompany new drivers if using a car between 11 PM and 5 AM, and for good reason. Night driving requires extra levels of awareness for differing road conditions, plus teenagers are likely to be more tired, which reduces their reaction time and judgement. Even after your teen moves on from his or her provisional license, you should still discourage lone night driving until they have more practice in.
Provisional licenses also require the presence of an adult aged 25 or over when a teen driver has passengers in the car under the age of twenty. This restriction lasts until the driver is eighteen. The higher the number of passengers, the higher number of distractions. Teens will also take more risks when driving with their peers.
In 2012, 83% of teenage motor vehicle crash deaths were passengers, which stems from poor driving when with peers. Always be aware of who your teen is driving with and keep the number of occupants low.
Put Away the Phone
In 2016, more than 54% of California drivers reported that they had been in an accident or almost been in one with a driver who was texting or talking on a cell phone. Distracted driving creates a great risk for accidents, and teens often do not understand when it is appropriate to put the phone away.
California law prohibits drivers under the age of eighteen from using any electronic wireless device, including hands-free methods such as Bluetooth and speakerphone. General phone use, unless an emergency, is illegal for all drivers.
While it may be difficult for police officers to enforce these laws in every car, you can enforce them with your teen. Be sure to also explain the risks of distracted driving and the problems phones present on the road, instead of just saying that it’s the law.
Safe driving is critical for everyone, but it can be especially important for teen drivers who are still developing skills behind the wheel. By encouraging safe driving practices and teaching by example, you can improve your children’s driving experience so that they can come home safe every time.