Car crashes are one of the greatest dangers your teens face. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk of motor vehicle accidents is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than among any other age group—they are nearly three times more likely to crash than older drivers! New drivers tend to underestimate driving dangers, as their lack of experience hinders their ability to recognize potentially hazardous situations.
Older Teen Drivers Remain at High Risk
Although many federal and state agencies have doubled down on efforts to make driving safer for teens, a new report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) has shown that drivers between the ages of 18 and 20 remain at high risk.
The increased risk to older teens appears to be the result of the large number of teens who aren’t licensed to drive by age 18; therefore, they aren’t targeted as frequently during teen driver safety campaigns. The study also found that, in most states, teens older than 18 do not have to abide by the three-stage licensing system, which has reduced teen crash risk by as much as 30 percent.
Parent support is key. As parents of new drivers, you play a vital role in keeping your teens safe while on the road, and ensuring they have the right protection in case of an accident.
10 Suggestions For Parents of Teen Drivers:
- Enroll your child in a driver education course taught by a professional.
- Have your child obtain his/her learner’s permits as soon as possible and get as much experience as they can throughout the next year.
- Require your child to drive with a learner’s permit for a full year, even if your state only requires this for six months.
- Have your child practice driving under various conditions such as at night, during bad weather and in heavy traffic.
- Restrict the number of passengers allowed in the car with your teen driver. The more passengers, the greater the risk.
- Do not allow your child to drive with new, teen drivers until they have had permits for at least one year.
- Do not give your child his/her “own” car. Allow them to drive a “family vehicle” that is everyone’s to use. This will divert them from treating it more haphazardly.
- Set firm rules about driving privileges and stick with them. Relax the rules as your child becomes a better driver and maintains a clean driving record. Create a driving contract between you and your child to help enforce the rules.
- Make sure your teen gets enough sleep before driving; this will lessen his/her chance for an accident.
- Set a good example in your own driving by abiding traffic laws, not talking on a cell phone while driving and not carrying on in-depth conversations while on the road with your teen in the car. Always wear your seatbelt.
It is equally important to prepare your teen for the possibility of an accident or roadside issue. Ensure they know how to change a tire, who to call if they need roadside assistance, and what to do if they are in an accident.
Tips to Keep Your Costs Down
If you’re the parent of a teenager who is getting ready to climb behind the steering wheel, insuring your new driver can be an expensive endeavor. This is because the risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16- to 19-year-olds than among any other age group. We’ve gathered some helpful tips to help you keep your premiums as low as possible, and keep your teen safe and accident-free.
- Add Your Teen to Your Auto Policy
Rather than setting up an independent policy for your teen driver, consider adding him or her as an additional driver on your auto insurance policy. Also, if you have more than one vehicle, keep costs down by designating which vehicle your child will be driving. (If parents’ driving records are spotty or they drive extremely expensive cars, it may be best best to purchase a separate policy for teens.)
- Deductible Considerations
Auto deductibles typically range from $250 to $1,000. By upping your deductible and using your insurance for big repairs, you can significantly reduce your premium.
- Ask for the Student Discount
If your teenager maintains at least a 3.0 grade point average (GPA), he or she typically qualifies for a rate discount.
- Enroll in our online Defensive Driving Course
Drivers who pass a defensive driving course could save up to 10% on their auto insurance and reduce points on their drivers license. Click here to enroll.
- Weigh Your Buying Decision
Wanting to get your teenager a new car to drive with the latest safety equipment is understandable, but you may be better off purchasing a safe, used vehicle in terms of premium prices.
- Set Your Expectations for Safety and Minimize Distracted Driving
Teens can get distracted easily. To help reduce potential accidents:
- Restrict your teen’s nighttime driving
- Do not allow them to drive with more than one other person in the car
- Ban cell phone use while driving
- Ride with your son or daughter occasionally to make sure they are keeping up with the safety habits that they learned in driver’s education
Do not, under any circumstances, allow teens to drive cars that they are not insured under. Also, do not lower your liability coverage drastically to combat rate increases. It simply does not make sense to carry less liability for a high risk driver, like teens. Plus, you will be forced to cover damages out-of-pocket if your child gets into an accident without enough coverage. In addition to an automobile insurance policy, you may wat to consider purchasing a Personal Liability Umbrella Policy. This policy will protect you against litigation if your teen accidentally injures someone or damages property. Even though your auto policy has substantial limits, it is common for juries to award damages that far exceed these limits.
As soon as your teen is ready to get his/her learner’s permit, contact a Marshall & Sterling representative. We’re here to help. Call your local office today to learn more about all of our automobile insurance and personal risk management solutions.