Teen Driver Safety: 6 Tips for Parents
One of the most anticipated rites of passage for teenagers is obtaining a driver's license. But this exciting life event also presents many risks for teens—and even more worries for parents. Especially when you consider that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among 15 to 20-year-olds.
At Grange Insurance Association, we understand the importance of keeping your loved ones safe. So before you hand over the keys to your new teenage driver, consider these six auto safety and insurance tips.
Don't Skimp on Practice Hours
We’ve all heard the saying, “Practice makes perfect.” While “perfect” may be a bit of an overstatement, driving is a complex skill that must be practiced to be learned well. Practice should come in two forms: state-required driver’s education and parental driver’s education.
State-required driver’s education: Every state has graduated driver's license laws that usually include a three-phase program. These Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) programs not only help teens learn the rules of the road, but also helps them gain much-needed experience before obtaining full driving privileges.
Parental driver’s education: In addition to completing an approved driver training course, many states require drivers under the age of 18 to hold an instruction permit for at least six months and certify that they’ve had at least 50 hours of supervised driving practice. Check with you local DMV to learn more about your state's exact driving requirements for teenagers.
Teaching your teen to drive is the perfect opportunity to spend some one-on-one time together. It will also help ensure that they not only learn the general rules of the road, but also your rules. For the best results, make sure your teen gets experience driving in a variety of different conditions..
Create an Agreed Upon Set of Rules
Some of the leading causes of teen crashes include driving with other teen passengers, nighttime driving and distracted driving. To help prevent these incidents from occurring, many parents like to enforce their own set of driving rules. Your rules may include things like:
- Only one passenger at a time
- Turn off your cell phone while driving
- No eating in the car
- No loud music
Whatever rules you deem fit, make sure your teen driver knows exactly what you expect of them before they get behind the wheel.
Be A Good Role Model
Modeling safe driving is an essential part of ensuring your teen grows up to be a safe-driving adult. New drivers learn by example.
Consider the Safety Rating of Your Vehicle
Choosing the right vehicle can make all the difference in the world! Avoid sports cars and vehicles that are prone to rollovers. If possible, choose a vehicle with the latest safety equipment and driver assist features such as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking. Most importantly, make sure they drive a vehicle with an excellent crash safety record.
As a parent, you may also be wondering how much your auto insurance premiums will increase when your teen begins driving. Auto insurance rates for teenage drivers tend to be higher than other drivers, mainly because teenagers pose a higher risk of accidents as a group. Fortunately, we have a few tips to help keep costs down when selecting car insurance for teenagers.
Add Your Teen to Your Auto Insurance Policy
It’s almost always cheaper to add your teenager to your own auto insurance policy, rather than purchase a second stand-alone policy. There are a number of ways to save money when adding a teen to your auto insurance policy.
- If you previously had only one vehicle in your household you may qualify for a multi-vehicle discount, with the purchase of a vehicle for your teen.
- Vehicles with high safety ratings cost less to insure—another reason why picking the right vehicle for your teen is so important.
- You can typically lower your premiums by increasing your deductible.
Teens can also do their part to help parents save money on auto insurance:
- Many car insurance companies offer student discounts to teens that make good grades (typically a 3.0 or higher).
- Even if your state doesn’t require driver’s ed., you may be eligible for a discount if your teen completes the program a driver's education course..
Consider Increasing Your Liability Insurance or Adding an Umbrella Insurance Policy
If you have never considered umbrella insurance before, there’s no better time than with the addition of teenage drivers. If your teen is found negligent in an accident and the damages exceed your insurance limits, you are held financially responsible for the remaining amount not covered by your insurance. This is where umbrella insurance may come into play. It is essentially extra liability insurance designed to help protect you from major claims and lawsuits. Think of umbrella insurance as your safeguard against potential financial hardship.
There are few things more important than making sure your teen driver is well protected while on the road. Since 1894, Grange Insurance Association has helped protect families throughout California, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. Whether you’re looking for home insurance or car insurance for teenagers, we can help you get the coverage you need for the things you care about most.
Be sure to check out our Big 5 Infographic for information about the 5 major types of auto insurance coverage that can help keep your teen protected.