Handing the keys over to your teen drivers ranks as one of life’s bittersweet moments. You’re proud of their first steps toward independence, but you worry about their safety on the road since your higher vehicle insurance bills remind you constantly how teens have the highest risk of accidents. Address any concerns you may have head-on by reviewing the following tips with your teen drivers.
When teens get behind the wheel, many distractions can assail them. They might be looking at their friends to chat, fiddling with the radio, or even eating a quick breakfast before school. But as problematic as these behaviors can become, they don’t compare to the hazards posed by a cellphone. According to Consumer Reports, 11 percent of those under age 20 who suffered fatal crashes were distracted. Texting pulls driver focus from the road an average of 4.6 seconds, which is like driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed.
Minnesota makes it illegal for anyone under age 18 to use a cellphone while driving, even if it’s hands-free, except for calling 911 in an emergency. Tell your teens that a condition of their using the car is to shut off their phones. If they still cannot resist the temptation, advise them to keep their devices in the trunk. They’re then only allowed to retrieve their phones when they aren’t behind the wheel.
Watch the Speed Limit
The National Highway Safety Traffic Administration states that in 2015, speed factored into 29 percent of fatal crashes involving teen drivers. Evidence also points to speeding behavior among teens increasing over time, perhaps as they gain confidence.
Set a good example for your young drivers. Stay under the speed limit yourself. Then keep watch on how your teens drive – the more they’re monitored, the less they tend to speed. Hold off on buying them their own cars. They’re less likely to speed in large family-oriented vehicles rather than in sports cars designed for high performance. Remind them that speeding tickets can increase the cost of car insurance.
Driving defensively means anticipating dangers before they happen and having a way out. Teach your teens to be aware of what’s happening in front, to the sides, and in the back of their vehicle. Allow at least one car length or more before the car in front. Have them constantly look for multiple escape routes to the sides if something happens in front.
Your teens will improve their driving skills with experience, especially if your wisdom and advice guide them to a safer path.