Parents have been teaching their teens to drive for over a hundred years. Sure, they get help now from driving schools, but parents are usually the first teachers for young drivers.
But, despite the fact that most adults have been driving for many years, it can be hard to know what to teach a new driver. As a driver with years of experience, driving comes naturally, without too much conscious thought. Trying to teach such automatic behavior can be hard.
Add to this the fact that, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in the United States, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16-19-year-olds is nearly 3 times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over. This risk is the highest for 16-17-year-olds. The fatal crash rate per mile driven is nearly twice as high for these new drivers as it is for 18-19-year-olds.
So, here are a few rules to start with if you are teaching a new driver.
#1 Turn off the cell phone
- We’ve all heard the statistics and seen the public service announcements. Cell phones and driving do not mix. And for new drivers, this should be the first, number one, hard and fast rule. Turn off the phone. Put it in the glove compartment. Even consider leaving it at home to avoid temptation.
#2 Stay focused
- Driving requires focus. To stay focused, you must minimize distractions in the car. For new drivers, this means driving alone, keeping the radio low or off, and avoiding eating and drinking in the car while driving. The goal should always be to focus on the road and other drivers.
#3 Obey the speed limit
- Speeding kills. That’s why there are speed limits. An accident at 35 miles per hour usually has a very different outcome than an accident at 70 miles per hour. New drivers, whose reactions are not as developed as experienced drivers, should be especially careful about speeding.
#4 Avoid tailgating
- Related to speeding, tailgating is another accident-prone driving behavior. New drivers often want to go faster than the car in front of them and do not have the experience to understand what it takes to stop a vehicle. If the road is wet, if they are going fast, or if they are distracted they may not have enough time to stop.
#5 Avoid lane changes
- At least until a young driver is more experienced, avoiding lane changes is a good way to stay safe. Driving the car, staying in a lane, avoiding others, and then having to look over their shoulder when changing lanes can be daunting for new drivers. There are too many things to account for and this can lead to panic and accidents.
Once you’ve got them trained and are ready to add your teen driver to your policy, you may be shocked at the rates. Don’t worry. As your new driver becomes more experienced, their rates will come down. Meanwhile, you can use the InsuranceWins form to compare rates to compare rates and find the best car insurance policy for you and your family.