Special Report to Parents of Teen Drivers
Here are some things you need to know before you hand over the keys to your car!
These are the five steps every parent should follow before giving the keys to a teenager driver.
Congratulations for taking steps to make your teen safer drivers!
During this time of parenthood, you probably have many thoughts. Your young, innocent child has achieved a significant milestone in their lives that gives them the freedom they’ve been aspiring for for the past 15-16 years.
You have just reduced your child’s dependency on you. You may be relieved that they won’t have to move them around the city. You can only hope that your help will be enough for him or her to stay safe behind the wheel.
However, just hoping won’t bring you peace of mind.
Teen drivers are five times more likely than experienced drivers to be in a car accident, and they are the leading cause for death among teens.
Every Monday morning, a story is published about a teenager who has been killed or injured in an accident. Two stories about teens being killed in accidents occurred this morning, and I am currently writing this report.
An 18-year-old was just beginning his senior year and was involved in the first accident. The 18-year-old was a junior firefighter and was just one month away from being promoted to the team. He was speeding (65 mph in a 45), lost control, crashed into a ditch and rolled his vehicle, which resulted in his death instantly. He wasn’t wearing his seatbelt.
This story is tragic, but the only good news is that no other person was involved. Nobody else was hurt or killed.
The second story was about three teenage friends having a great time on Saturday night. The driver, aged 18, had been drinking and taking prescription drugs called “Xanax”. He lost control of his car and ran into an embankment. His 18-year-old girlfriend was also killed. The accident left her younger sister and driver with minor injuries.
Your child may believe they are responsible, but you might be wrong. Although you may be right, one mistake can cause a fatal car accident.
DWI and reckless driving were the charges he was facing. Other charges are still pending. Most likely, manslaughter is added.
Similar stories are something we read almost every day. You are probably well aware of these stories.
If you really get to the root cause of so many teenage accidents, it is clear that they don’t understand the potential consequences. A simple error in judgement can cause the worst possible situation.
These stories and examples are what I share because it has happened too many times in my time in the business. It’s not something I want to happen to you. This is probably the most common story that an insurance agent has shared with me.
Five Steps to Prevent Teen Driver Safety
With your Teen, Take a Home Study Driving Class
Research has shown that teens who spend more time practicing driving with their parents are less likely to get into an accident. This is a new experience for teens and their skills, which can take many years to develop, are still not yet mastered. Although they may think they are as capable as you at driving, their brains are still not fully developed. Your brain’s hard-wired reactions, which took years to develop, are only just beginning to take shape.
Adults sometimes take it for granted that they can avoid or react to sticky situations. This is not the case for teens driving. These situations have never been faced by teens.
Preparing Your Teen for the Worst will ensure that they react properly to the worst.
You can only prepare them by practicing in a safe environment. Experts recommend that new drivers spend at least 100 hours behind the wheel before they are allowed to drive on their own. To prepare the driver for specific situations, this time should be spent learning a variety of techniques.
Over-correcting is a common mistake made by teens that causes accidents. These accidents can also be caused by speeding, but teens who get into a dangerous situation tend to overcorrect and lose control.
You may have ever noticed that you were veering off of the road, and suddenly you realize you are doing it. Then you pulled the brake too hard, and had to pull in the opposite direction to bring your car under control. Teen drivers don’t realize how sudden actions can cause a vehicle to lose control and crash.
Spending time with your teen, and using a guideline to practice certain techniques, can help your teen learn how to avoid accidents. This is better than learning on the roads where there are dangers. Your teen should take the time to pull off the road and over the sound markers. Then, slowly correct the path so that the vehicle is back on the road.
Ask your teen to complete a Safety Profile Assessment
Hidden traits are something that everyone has. This is something that many people don’t know about themselves. We are prone to react or do things for reasons that we don’t know.
You should also be aware that your teen may have some tendencies. You should be aware of their tendencies before they take the wheel. Why?
Cars can lead to certain behavior that can cause damage to people and property. These behaviors can be dangerous for your child and you should know them as a parent before you give the keys to the car.
These assessments can be found online and are very affordable.
Install a GPS-Based Alarm System
It is well-known that children are less likely to do wrong if they know they’ll be caught.
Let me tell you about Jared, a child I insure. His dangerous driving habits were discovered by his GPS system as he was returning from a retreat at a church. His father called immediately and shared his secret with him. He told him to slow down, and to get home as soon as possible.
Jared discovered the alert system and has yet to receive an alert from his father. Jared now knows his father will be notified if he violates a rule. The parent would not have known his son’s behavior without this system, unless there was something very serious.
Many systems are available for a low monthly fee. These are available at most car and truck accessory shops.
You can use special tools to help your teenager driver become a more responsible driver
A Parent/Teen driving contract: Many local insurance agents have parent/teen driving agreements they are happy to share with you, if you ask. These contracts usually have an agreement section and a section detailing the consequences for various driving behaviors. This will cover topics such as seatbelt usage, time of day and radio volume. It covers almost everything our parents didn’t mention to us.
You will be setting expectations with your teen driver by signing a contract.
If they arrive late at home, they could lose two days of driving privileges. They might lose driving privileges for a month or more if they are cited for speeding.
Be determined and pig-headed to keep your teen driver safe, especially in the first three years.
Do not just relax and sit back. This is just the beginning.
Parents need to recognize that teens won’t become safe drivers until they have the experience to avoid any dangers on the roads. Although this can take many years, it is crucial to start within three years.
Call me if you’d like me to assist you through this difficult time as a parent. We can discuss how to ensure you are adequately covered for a new teen driver within your household once you have all the necessary tools.