Most teens dream of the day they get their license and can drive by themselves. For many parents, this stage in life is quite stressful. As adults, we are very familiar with the dangers of the road and the best way to keep your teen safe is by being clear, open, honest, and to lead by example.
Take some time to read these driving safety tips and talk them over with your teen.
- Buckle up, every person, every time. Not only is it the law, but using a seat belt is one of the best ways to ensure everyone’s safety. Make a rule that not only is your teen to buckle up every time but so are all passengers in the car
- Minimize distractions. Talk to your teen about the dangers of texting, taking pictures, or in general being on the phone while driving. There are a number of apps that will block calls and texts while driving.Encourage your teen to let passengers help with other distractions like adjusting the radio or finding an address.
- Limit the number of passengers. While Florida does not have any laws regarding passenger restrictions and teen drivers, your teen should be encouraged to keep the number of passengers to a minimum to avoid distractions. According to the CDC, crash risk of teen drivers increases with the presence of teen passengers.
- Practice nighttime driving. In Florida, teens with a learner’s license can only drive during daylight hours. Drivers who are 16 are allowed to drive between 6am and 11pm and those who are 17 can drive between 5am and 1am (without adult supervision). It takes experience to drive at night so make sure you give your teen plenty of supervised time to practice their nighttime driving and in different weather conditions.
- Choose a safe car. Most newer cars now offer crash avoidance systems or advanced safety systems such as blind spot detection, back-up cameras, lane departure warning, and auto-braking. When buying an older car for your teen look for safety features such as anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and air bags. Checking out the crash safety record for the car you intend to purchase is also a great idea.
- Use monitoring technology. Many new vehicles now come with monitoring or tracking systems already integrated and there are also devices and apps you can purchase separately. Ford’s MyKey system for example, allows parents to limit the car’s speed and radio volume among other features. Hyundai’s Blue Link System has similar features to alert parents when their teen is not driving safely and automatically calls for help if there is an accident. Devices such as MobiCoPilot, Mastrack, Delphi Connect, and MotoSafety allow you to set geographic driving limits, driving speeds etc. Whatever the technology you choose to use, always discuss it with your teen first and use it as a type of coaching rather than solely relying on these.
- Lead by example and encourage them to speak up. Like with most everything else, our children learn mostly by what they see us doing. If you don’t want your teen speeding or texting while driving, make sure you are setting the example. Have an open dialogue with your teen and help them feel comfortable with confiding in you with situations they may face like pressure to drink and drive, or what to do in case of an accident.
Unfortunately, there is no way to keep our teens 100% safe 100% of the time. Having an honest conversation and setting firm and clear rules and expectations will however, help teens avoid major accidents.
If you need help finding the best car insurance for your teen driver, contact a Preferred Link agent today.