Getting your license and being allowed to get behind the wheel of a car is a big step for teenagers. The freedom and independence that comes with driving, however, is something a teenager should take very seriously. Unfortunately, this new found independence can also be a dangerous time for your teen and their passengers. Here at Cushman Insurance Group, we want to make sure this milestone is one to celebrate and enjoy all while being safe and responsible, which is why we’ve put together the following tips for both parents and teens to help everyone stay safe behind the wheel.
Make buckling up a family rule. With seatbelt use, the risk of fatality or serious injury decreases by 50%. Stress the importance of always buckling as both a driver and passenger because in the end, it saves lives.
Point out bad driving behaviors such as failure to use turn signals, tailgating and distracted driving before your child gets behind the wheel. By pointing this out, your teen will gain more experience over time and begin to notice them more instinctively, on their own.
Studies show that teen driver accidents increase once the sun goes down. Limit your teen’s driving to a certain curfew to make sure they are off the road when it gets dark.
Set a good example. Make sure you are demonstrating how to be safe behind the wheel. Don’t drink and drive, wear your seat belt and follow the speed limits. By enforcing these habits, your child is more likely to follow in your footsteps.
Make safe driving techniques a recurring and open conversation. Continually talk to your child about safe driving practices, experiences they’re having on the road, and any other topics that can help them stay safe behind the wheel.
Make sure your car insurance policy is up-to-date. Adding a new driver to your policy is an important change that may require you to reconsider the limits of your policy. Your independent agent can help you determine the level of coverage you need, along with any potential discounts you may qualify for.
Consider adding an Advanced Driver Training program to your teen driver’s course load. The prominent program in Massachusetts that we recommend is called In Control — completing this crash prevention training will give you an additional discount on your insurance.
Make sure you’re totally ready to leave before you get in the car. Eating, grooming, setting your GPS and changing music can be major distractions for drivers.
Set a limit on how many friends are in your car. There are a specific number of seats and seat belts for a reason. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, with each additional passenger, the risk of fatal crashes increases.
Speeding in general is a risky move when you are driving. “Teens driving 40 mph in a 30 mph zone may think they’re “only” going 10 mph over the posted speed limit. But that “small” increase in speed translates to a 78 percent increase in collision energy – that’s nearly double” according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Don’t drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This should go unsaid but drinking under the age of 21 is ILLEGAL and driving drunk is illegal at all ages. Always find a sober ride home, whether it’s a parent, a sibling or an Uber driver.
Wearing your seatbelt and ruining your outfit is better than not wearing your seatbelt and getting into an accident. Chances are, your outfit would get ruined if an EMT needs to help you get out of a car. Plus, it’s the law!
We hear horror stories of accidents involving teenagers and their friends all the time; especially during the summertime. Parents — we hope these tips help you start the conversation on safe driving with your teenager. Teen drivers — remember to take this new responsibility seriously and always follow these tips to keep yourself and your passengers safe on the road. For more information on distracted driving or your car insurance policies, give us a call (508-586-5310) or visit our website: www.cushmaninsure.com