Once your teenager has a license and it’s time to start driving on his or her own, it’s natural to be nervous. After all, teen drivers are at a much higher risk of accidents than more experienced drivers. You may be concerned your teen won’t remember the advice you’ve given or become distracted by his or her phone or a friend in the passenger seat. Here are five ways to make sure your teen is ready to hit the road alone, brought to you by Altra Insurance Services, a premier provider of auto insurance San Diego drivers trust for high-quality service and reliable, affordable coverage.
1. Don’t Allow Friends in the Car at First
Passengers can be a major distraction, and many states even restrict how many passengers a teen driver can transport. In California, a teen driver cannot transport passengers under the age of 20 for the first 12 months of being licensed. In one study of teen drivers who had been involved in serious accidents, 47 percent of females and 71 percent of males said they’d been distracted by a passenger’s actions. Make sure your teen understands the risks of driving with friends in the car while he or she is still mastering driving skills.
2. Talk About Safe Driving Behaviors
Don’t wait until your teen is asking for the keys to have a serious discussion about safe driving. Discuss the importance of wearing a seat belt, obeying the speed limit, and avoiding alcohol. Make sure to talk about the dangers of distractions like cell phone use and eating while driving.
3. Set Strict Boundaries
Setting limits and clear expectations for teen drivers is important. Your teen should understand that if he or she doesn’t follow the laws—such as driving within the speed limit and wearing a seat belt—he or she could lose driving privileges. You can also set your own rules, such as where your teen can drive alone and how long he or she can be out while still gaining valuable experience. You should also set a strict rule about cell phone use while driving.
4. Set a Good Example
Focus on setting a good example for your teen when it comes to your own driving. When your teen is in the car with you, use the habits and techniques you’ve discussed and talk about why you drive the way you do. On the highway, you may point out that you don’t follow closely because you can’t see what’s ahead of the other driver and a sudden stop, such as a traffic jam, could cause a rear-end collision. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, children learn most of their driving behavior by watching their parents.
5. Discuss What to Do in an Emergency
It isn’t enough for your teen to understand and obey traffic laws. He or she should also know what to do if something goes wrong. Explain the steps to take in the event of an accident, including pulling over somewhere safe, remaining in the car, contacting police, and exchanging information with the other driver when safe to do so. Keep an emergency kit in the car that includes a first aid kit and starter cables. Your teen should also have a good idea of what to do in case of a flat tire or dead battery.
Your insurance agent can provide you with additional safety information and tips to offer your teen as he or she gets used to driving alone. If you’re looking for reliable car insurance and high-quality service, call on the trustworthy agents from Altra Insurance Services. We can also provide you with motorcycle, renters, and home insurance. San Diego residents should give us a call today at 619-474-6666.