THURSDAY, JULY 16, 2015
With or without a strong graduated licensing law, parents can establish effective teenage driving rules. In particular:
- Don't rely solely on driver education. High school driver education may be a convenient way to introduce teens to the mechanics of driving, but it doesn't produce safer drivers. Poor skills aren't always to blame for teen crashes. Teenagers' attitudes, experience and decision-making matter more. Young people tend to overestimate their skills and underestimate their vulnerabilities. Training and education don't change these tendencies. Peers are influential, but parents have much more influence than typically is credited to them.
- Know the law. Become familiar with your state's restrictions on young drivers, and feel free to set tougher rules. To review state laws, go here.
- Restrict night driving. About 2 of 5 young drivers' fatal crashes occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. The problem isn't just that driving in the dark requires more skill behind the wheel. Late outings tend to be recreational, and even teens who usually follow the rules can be easily distracted or encouraged to take risks. Consider setting an early curfew for your teen, even if your state has a later one.
- Restrict passengers. Teenage passengers riding in a vehicle with a beginning driver can distract the driver and encourage greater risk-taking. While driving at night with passengers is particularly lethal, many of the fatal crashes involving teen passengers occur during the day. The best policy is to restrict teenage passengers, especially multiple teens, all the time.
- Supervise practice driving. Take an active role in helping your teen learn to drive. Plan a series of practice sessions in a variety of situations, including night driving. Give beginners time to work up to challenges like driving in heavy traffic, on freeways, or in snow and rain.
- Require safety belt use. Don't assume that your teen will buckle up when driving alone or out with peers. Insist on belts.
- Prohibit driving after drinking alcohol. Make it clear that it's illegal and dangerous to drive after drinking alcohol or using any other drug.
- Consider a monitoring device. Various types of in-vehicle devices are available to parents who want to monitor their teens' driving. These systems flag risky behavior such as speeding, sudden braking, abrupt acceleration and nonuse of belts. Research shows a monitoring device can reduce teens' risks behind the wheel. Some insurers offer discounts for using one.
- Choose vehicles with safety in mind. Teens should drive vehicles that reduce their chances of crashing in the first place and then protect them from injury in case they do crash. Bigger, heavier vehicles are safer. Small and mini cars don't offer the best protection in a collision compared with larger vehicles. Avoid high-horsepower models that might encourage teens to speed. Look for vehicles that have the best safety ratings. Two musts are side airbags to protect people's heads in crashes (standard on most 2008 and later models) and electronic stability control to avoid crashes (standard on 2012 and later models). Check out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety ratings for vehicles that are good choices for teenage drivers.
- Be a role model. New drivers learn a lot by example, so practice safe driving yourself. Teenagers who have crashes and violations often have parents with similar driving records.
We take teenage drivers very seriously- we even talk to newly licensed drivers about their responsibilities, talk about the most commons causes of accidents and tell them what to do in case of an accident. If you have teenage drivers and want a Bellefontaine insurance agent that truly cares about keeping your teenage driver safe, call Alan Galvez Insurance at (937) 592-4871 or contact us via our website.
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