Eyes on the Road
Do you remember your first destination after you got your license? One of the most exciting times for a sixteen-year-old is passing their DMV exam and earning the independence to drive alone. It’s also a great time for parents since some of the “chauffeuring” duties are transferred to their teen. While driving alone is thrilling, it also comes with enormous responsibilities that teens sometimes underestimate.
Our intent is not to scare teen drivers or their parents, but to educate you with the facts and ways to ensure safety while driving. Your teenage years are your highest risk years from a driving standpoint. Teens are four times more likely to get into an accident than adults are, and it is the number one cause of teenage death. As sobering as that fact is, it’s important to understand inexperience and age DO factor into driving capability. More years on the road usually increases awareness and experience. As little as two years can really change the statistics: sixteen-year-olds are twice as more likely to get into an accident than eighteen-year-olds.
This is not to say that all sixteen-year-olds should be banned from driving – or even that all teens are bad drivers. There are several ways that new drivers can increase safety and decrease distractions. Here’s what we suggest:
- Eliminate Distractions: Ditch the food, the GPS and definitely the cell phone when driving. Two eyes on the road are necessary no matter how old you are. Changing stations, volume or songs also counts as a distraction!
- Be cautious at night: The hours of 9:00 p.m. to midnight are the most common times a teen will get in an accident. Try to lessen or eliminate driving after dark during your early months and years of driving.
- Choose your passengers carefully: Along with time of day, number of passengers also increases risk of accident. In fact, you are three to five times more likely to get into an accident with just one passenger in your car versus being along. Avoid the distraction and allow passengers only when necessary (and make sure they understand you need to focus on the road!)
Parents of teen drivers also play a critical role in new driver safety. You are the biggest enforcer of state laws, as well as any additional rules you want applied. Common measures parents usually take include:
- New driver completes certified driver’s education course
- New driver spends certain number of hours driving in the car with their parents (We suggest some parent-supervised driving at night and during bad so that your teen will feel more comfortable in these situations).
- Parents impose a curfew for early months of driving where the teen is home by 9 pm
- Parents set maximum number of passengers (or no passengers at all)
Most experts also recommend new drivers have a midsize car or larger when first starting out. Parents and teens should check to ensure the newest and most updated safety technology is present in the car, especially side airbags.
And of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention car insurance coverage! You can give Penny Insurance a call for a quote that will provide the best and most appropriate new driver coverage.
Congratulations new driver! We hope you’ll take your safety and the safety of others to heart, and keep both eyes on the road.