The world of new teen drivers today is painted by more distractions than ever. Teens that have grown up with smartphones in their hands are more likely to use them behind the wheel, and as a result, motor crashes are the leading cause of death among teens, as seen in the Centers for Disease Control’s Teen Driver Fact Sheet.
A major stepping stone, the independence of being able to drive is obviously a big excitement. On the other hand, a nervous teen driver may be more likely to make mistakes that cause incidents on the road.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that teen drivers aged 16 to 19 are three times more likely to be in a fatal crash than drivers aged 20 and older. Due to lack of experience, teens are less able to make quick decisions and “size up” vehicles when merging or making other traffic maneuvers. In inclement weather, lack of experience can cause poor reaction time and decision-making in hazardous conditions.
Teens are also more likely to behave recklessly while driving, and not respect the rules of the road due to not having known them for long enough: higher instances of speeding, tailgating, texting, not wearing seatbelts, and other rash behavior all contribute to collisions and even fatal ones.
There are specific tips you can give to a child to help them to develop safe driving habits.
Make sure that you’re regularly practicing driving with your teen—if not extra. Every time that you run out to the door to run an errand, ask your teen to come along to get some extra practice.
You should reinforce safety procedures at all times to your teen, as well as the serious consequences of driving infractions and accidents, and how those can increase the cost of insurance as well.
Help them to plan to start driving.
Don’t let your teen go out on their own and buy any old beater—make sure to do your research on how to choose the best car for your teen. For example, cars like SUVs have higher centers of gravity and are therefore much less stable. Find out which type of car is the safest and most reliable for your teen, and you may see a lower insurance policy.
There are benefits to having teen drivers on your plan but do your homework.
If you’ve enforced good driving habits, helped your teen to purchase a safe vehicle, over time, your teen will hopefully have a clean driving record, which in turn will help to lower insurance rates.
You might be helping your teen to purchase a car insurance plan so they don’t have to purchase one on their own. If you’re adding a teen to your car insurance plan, it will be less expensive for them.
If you’re adding your teen to your plan, you might qualify for a multi-vehicle discount. The Insurance Information Institute recommends this, as well as potentially increasing your deductible from the minimum amount (which could then apply to liability insurance).
Depending on your choices, you might purchase higher amounts of liability coverage in order to prevent against the chance that your teen causes or gets into a car accident. You’ll be financially responsible for damages—and those not covered by insurance could be hefty. So be sure to do your research in order to find the best plan that will protect you and your teen.