Teaching Safe Teen Driving
Are you the parent of a teen driver? Have you had a conversation about driving safety? If you have not, it should be a priority on your to-do list.
Advisors Insurance Agency wants to make sure you have the information you need when it is time for that driving safety talk. Additionally, we have included some resources to help you teach your teen to drive once their beginner’s permit has been obtained.
When teens begin to drive, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council, the sobering statistics start to pile up:
- Car crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens ages 14 through 18.
- A teen’s crash risk is three times that of more experienced drivers.
- Being in a car with three or more teen passengers quadruples a teen driver’s crash risk.
- More than half of teens killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt.
You can help your young driver make better decisions behind the wheel!
Start by setting a good example yourself. Set time aside to have a serious discussion about the following issues. They all have a large impact on the safety of teen drivers and driving safety:
- Speed: According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, speeding continues to grow as a factor in fatal crashes involving teen drivers. Thirty-three percent of such accidents in 2011 involved excessive speed. While a lot of emphasis is rightfully placed on the risks of driving under the influence or while distracted, the danger of speeding is just as important.
- Alcohol: If drivers are under 21, driving with any amount of alcohol in their system is illegal. It’s as simple as that. And not only does the risk of a serious crash increase once alcohol is involved, jail time is a possibility as well.
- Seat belts: Teens don’t use their seat belts as frequently as adults, so it’s important to set a good example and always have yours on. Seat belts are the simplest way to protect themselves in a crash. Make sure teens know that buckling up is mandatory.
- Phones: Distracted driving is dangerous driving, especially for an inexperienced teen. That means no calls or texting when behind the wheel — no exceptions. Again, it pays to set a good example when you’re driving with your teen in the car.
- Passengers: The risk of a fatal crash goes up as the number of passengers in a teen driver’s car increases, according to the NHTSA. Depending on your state’s licensing laws for young drivers, limiting your teen to one passenger is a good guideline. (And some states don’t allow teens to have any passengers for a time.)
Just recently, the DMV unveiled a program to assist parents teaching their teens to drive. Once new drivers have obtained their beginner’s permit, the Parents’ Supervised Driving Program (or PSDP), leads participants through weekly lessons behind the wheel to prepare for their driving tests. This program was developed by Safe Roads Alliance, a non-profit dedicated to promoting safer driving through education for drivers of all ages. Visit the site for more information on the program specific to South Carolina, as well as additional resources. In South Carolina, drivers are required to log at least 40 hours on the road with an authorized adult while learning to drive.
Of course, any driver needs to have a good grasp on the laws and rules of the road, and, because teens don’t have much experience, it’s important to have regular conversations about safe driving. How teens drive doesn’t just depend on them. It depends on you, too!
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