Few things scare a parent more than having a teen driver. The learning curve is sharp – both for
your teen driver and for yourself as you strive to become an effective and poised teacher.
When your teen is driving, it can be difficult to determine which driving tendencies demand
correction and which ones are okay to overlook. To avoid nitpicking their every move, it’s
better to encourage safe driving habits that will make them a better and safer driver overall. In
this blog, we’re going to cover four skills to teach your teen driver.
Mind your speed.
Speeding is not only a major cause of teen car accidents, but it’s also a factor that worsens the
effects of an accident.
If your teen has a lead foot, explain to them the risks of driving over the speed limit. Many
teens assume that as long as they avoid a speeding ticket, they’re not hurting anyone. But a
speeding ticket is minor compared to being liable for causing an accident and injuring someone
due to driving too fast.
Drive free of food and drinks.
Parents are quick to tell their teens to never drink and drive. But what about driving and
Eating at the wheel really is distracting, and for a teen who’s inexperienced to begin with, it is
often the cause of fender benders and other accidents.
The piece you may not want to hear is that your teens are watching you drive and learning from
your habits, good or bad. If you’re dressing a salad while trying to watch the road, or driving
with the steering wheel between your knees while eating a chicken sandwich, they’re likely to
feel confident in doing the same.
Set a good example for your teen drivers. They may not want to listen to your lectures in the
car, but leading by example goes a long way.
Manage the social scene.
Food is certainly not the only distraction teen drivers face. Passengers, loud music, and phones
are all common, and often, unmonitored distractions.
The best way to manage social distractions is to, again, set a good example. Put your phone in
the back seat when you get behind the wheel. Ask a passenger to respond to urgent text
messages for you instead of attempting to text while driving. Better yet, put your phone in
driving mode. (Honestly, even if you don’t have a teen driver, these are excellent habits to
While helpful for sending text messages, passengers can be a major distraction for teen drivers.
It’s best to limit the number of friends your teen is allowed to have in the car while driving. Give
them time to acclimate to the road before their car turns into a social hub.
Arrive at Your Destination Before Dark.
Because teen drivers are inexperienced, nighttime driving presents a common risk. Not only are
things more difficult to see in the dark, but chances are, your teen is going to be more tired at
night, and so will other drivers.
If your teen is driving at night, help them take note of areas that require their utmost attention
- Busy roads
- Historically dangerous intersections
- Construction zones
- Pedestrian-heavy areas
The more alert your teen is while driving, the safer they will be.
Will you have a teen driving soon? Contact Penny Insurance about adding your new driver to
your auto insurance policy.
Safety Tips for Teen Drivers
While it may be frightening to unleash your freshly-licensed teen onto the roads, there are many proactive ways to ensure their safety and your peace of mind. At Penny Insurance Agency, we consider our clients family, and we want to look out for yours. Share these tips with your teen driver as they venture out onto the roads this fall, especially with increased holiday traffic over the next couple of months.
In serious car accidents caused by teen drivers, 21% were caused by speeding.1 Research shows that teens are much more likely to speed and spin a vehicle out of control than adults are. Speed dramatically increases the risks of causing accidents, which can also be a liability disaster. “Teens driving 40 mph in a 30 mph zone may think they’re “only” going 10 mph over the posted speed limit. But that “small” increase in speed translates to a 78 percent increase in collision energy – that’s nearly double.”2 It’s just not worth it.
Seatbelts Save Lives
The saying “click it or ticket” is a catchy way to remember to always wear a seatbelt. “At least 46% of teen drivers and passengers who died in passenger vehicle crashes in 2017 were not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash. Research shows that seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.”3 Given the most current research, wearing a seatbelt is the easiest way to decrease fatal car accidents. Remind your teen that wearing their seatbelt can cut injuries or death risks in half.
Don’t Drive Distracted
Texting, music, and extra passengers can all result in distracted driving– the fifth leading cause of teen car accidents.4 Encourage your teen to put their phone in the backseat before starting the car to limit the temptation to check their phone, text, or play music from their device. Limit the number of passengers your teen can drive with to keep the peer pressure and distraction to a minimum. Small distractions may seem insignificant, but the smallest distraction can result in significant damage in a split second.
Encourage a Driving Course
Research shows that inexperience is the leading cause of teen car accidents.5 Driver training courses teach teens critical skills and improve reaction times. Many training courses are fun for teens, allowing them to really learn the ins and outs of vehicle mechanics and allowing them to practice key skills. Skills learned in driving courses are much more in-depth than what is learned during the state-officiated driving test. These courses can even help you receive better rates on insurance policies. “Research suggests that more comprehensive GDL systems are associated with 26% to 41% reductions in fatal crashes and 16% to 22% reductions in overall crashes among 16-year-old drivers. Parents can help their teen be safer by knowing and following their state’s GDL laws.”6
Share these tips with your teen driver for easy ways to prevent car accidents– the leading cause of death for U.S. teens– and for ways to be proactive as the roads become busier with holiday traffic. As always, if you are looking for the best insurance policies out there contact us or call us directly today.
If you’ve been following along on our blog, you know we’ve kicked off the summer with a series on the various steps you need to take to get your boat prepped and ready for the water. We’ve partnered with Chubb Insurance to bring you the tips you need for the best first voyage of your watercraft. Here is the third and final installment in our Coming Out of Lay-up series to help you get your boat in ship shape:
Once the boat is on her mooring or in her slip, check everything before you depart on your first cruise. Start on the foredeck and work your way aft before going below.
Anchors and Mooring Lines
Be sure the anchor and rode are secured properly and ready to use. The “bitter end” of the anchor line must be attached to a strong point inside the boat. All shackle pins must be secured with seizing wire. Replace any mooring lines, fenders and life ring lines that are suffering from chafe or sunlight damage.
If you see cracks in vinyl wire covers, or rust or cracks at end fittings, replace the wire. Be sure pulpits, stanchions and ladders are secure and in good repair, and all setscrews are tight.
Rig Deck Canvas and Check for Leaks
Set up and inspect all of the canvas. Make sure all windows, portlights and hatches are secured, and give the boat a thorough washing. As soon as you’re done, go below and look for leaks.
Don’t forget to look at chainplates on sailboats and make a note of any leaks you find so that they may be repaired.
Check Your Shore Power
Before you plug into shore power, inspect the ends of the cord and the receptacle that’s mounted on the boat for any signs of heat damage.
Plug the boat in, turn on the battery charger and be sure the voltage rises in the batteries. Be sure battery water levels are correct. After dark, make sure the running and anchor lights work.
Engines and Generator Check
Start engines and generators, warm them up thoroughly and change the oil and filters.
While you’re warming up the engines, check the battery voltage. If alternators are working properly, a 12-volt system will charge at close to 14 volts. Also, while engines are running, inspect fuel, cooling and exhaust systems for leaks and correct any leaks you find, no matter how minor.
Check engine mounts and make sure all locknuts are tight. Since you checked the prop and shaft condition prior to launch, any vibration you notice while under way may mean an engine needs aligning. Alignment can’t be checked when the boat is hauled out; the hull will change shape slightly when it’s in the water. It takes experience and special tools to move engines into proper alignment, so this may be a job for your mechanic.
Water Tanks and Heater
If the domestic water and waste systems were winterized, they will need draining and flushing, and any fittings that were disconnected will need to be secured. When the tanks are full, and the system is pressurized, check all the fittings for leaks.
If you have a propane system, open the valve on the tank, turn on the remote solenoid switch if there is one, and light a burner on the stove. Note the reading on the pressure gauge and close the valve on the tank. Wait 10 minutes and look at the gauge again. If there’s any change in the reading, there’s a leak somewhere. Use soapy water to find the leak; never use a flame.
A summer spent out on the water is a summer well spent! We hope this series on boating helps you to navigate the ins and outs of marine craft preparation so that you can enjoy the rest of your summer on your vessel. Contact a Penny Insurance Agent today to discuss your marine recreation protection options. Be safe out on the water and enjoy the waves!
As we welcome summer, it is time to continue preparing your vessel for the water. We
partnered with Chubb Insurance to ensure your boat is in tip-top shape for a successful launch
so that you can experience a safe and enjoyable boating season. Below you will find the second
section of our three-part series on how to properly prep your boat during the launch.
Warmer weather leads to very busy boatyards, often launching several boats an hour. Yard
employees may not take the time to properly check for leaks after the boat goes in the water.
You, or someone else who knows the boat, should be there when she is launched to ensure the
following prep occurs:
Check for Leaks
As soon as the boat is in the water, get below with a bright light and check for leaks. Remember
to check prop shaft and rudder stuffing boxes.
If your sailboat’s mast was removed for winter storage, the yard will usually step it when the
boat is in the water. It’s easy to get the rig ready for sailing if you remembered to measure the
turnbuckles and to inspect all the standing and running rigging last fall. Be sure all turnbuckles
are secured with cotter pins once the rig has been tuned.
Start the Engine
Before you start an engine, be sure the seawater intake seacock is open. As soon as the engine
is running, check for exhaust water flow.
As you move the boat to her mooring, watch the temperature gauge to make sure the engine’s
cooling system is working properly. If an engine won’t start right away, don’t crank it for very
long; water can collect in the muffler and drown the engine.
Now that you’ve done your boat-keeping chores, you can spend a relaxing season enjoying your
boat. Keeping a few tips in mind can help throughout the season and as you prepare for lay-up
later in the year.
• Check the lifejackets, flares and first aid kit to make sure you and your boating companions
will be safe while onboard your vessel. Be sure the horn, running lights, anchor light and
searchlight work properly.
• Check the fire extinguishers and have them serviced or replaced as needed and change the
batteries in the smoke and CO detectors and EPIRB if you have one.
• Make certain the boat’s registration or documentation is current and that all the required
papers are onboard.
• Start a “punch list” of things that will need attention before the end of the season.
• Inventory all equipment, personal items and outfitting onboard and update it during the
• Replace anything that’s missing, damaged or out of date.
We want you to have fun on the water, just as much as we want you and your co-captains to be
safe this summer! Be sure to complete this thorough checklist during the launch of your boat so
that you and those aboard your boat are safe while truly enjoying your time out on the water.
Contact a Penny Insurance Agent today to discuss your marine recreation protection options
and be on the lookout for the final addition to our three-part boating series.
Have a great summer of safe boating!
Important Recommendations for Boating Season
Summer is upon us which means it’s time to prepare for boating season! If your boat was in lay-up over the winter, you’ll need to take care of a few things before it’s ready to go. Penny Insurance Agency partnered with Chubb Recreational Marine Insurance, to help you make sure your vessel is ready for a successful launch and you can enjoy a safe and relaxing season. Check out the first section of our three-part series below!
As a boat owner, you’re responsible for knowing the condition of your boat and its equipment.
Bringing a vessel out of lay-up gives you a great opportunity to perform a thorough inspection before boating season begins. Before you launch your boat, be sure to review manuals, instruction sheets and other documents for details about the vessel and onboard systems, proper operation and maintenance, as well as contact information for manufacturers and suppliers in case you have questions or need parts.
Before the Launch
Outside the Boat
Rule number one: While working on the hull, always let the yard employees move stands and blocking. If you’re using a ladder to get onboard, don’t forget to secure the top of the ladder to a stanchion, or a cleat on deck.
Inspect the Bottom
- Check all through-hull fittings and scrape inside their openings.
- Be sure all seawater intakes are clear of obstructions.
Through-Hulls and Zincs
- Check all the through-hulls above the waterline.
- Replace any questionable through-hulls with marine-grade bronze or fiber-reinforced plastic.
- Remove any sacrificial zinc anodes prior to painting.
- Install fresh zinc anodes if the old ones are half depleted.
Transducers and Running Gear
- Inspect underwater transducers for depth sounders, fish finders and knot meters.
- Clean and free the faces of depth transducers of marine growth.
- Check propellers for damage and straightness.
- Put a light coat of waterproof grease on the shaft taper and key when installing the serviced prop.
- Check shaft bearings for wear.
- Check the rudders by trying to move the bottom of the rudder from side to side, and up and down.
- Inspect swim step supports, trim tabs, thruster grates and boarding ladders.
- Be sure the ladder deploys properly if it telescopes and is mounted under the swim step
- Inspect the outdrives’ flexible rubber bellows carefully.
- Run your finger along the edge of the skeg at the very bottom of the drive and if you find any oil, a seal may need to be replaced.
- Change the oil in the drive.
Inside the Boat
- Make sure all seacocks operate smoothly and their handles are in good condition.
- Clean and brighten the through-hulls and bonding wire connections.
- Check the bonding connection to the sacrificial zinc.
- Inspect seawater intake strainers on engines, generators, air conditioner pumps and any other equipment that requires them.
- Make certain drain plugs are secure and that gaskets and washers are in good shape.
- Inspect the seawater intake systems’ vented loop.
Hoses and Clamps
- Inspect the hose clamps and the hoses attached to all the seacocks and through-hulls.
- Examine all stuffing box hoses, exhaust hoses and fill hoses from the decks to the tanks.
- Replace any soft hoses that show signs of bulging, cracking or damage.
Engines and Generators
- Check and replace your engine and generators’ sacrificial zinc anodes, if necessary.
- Check all the V-belts on the engines.
- Pull out the knotmeter transducer and inspect the O-rings.
- Apply a light coat of waterproof grease to the O-rings and be sure the transducer tube is clean before re-inserting the transducer.
- Put the water-lift exhaust muffler on a generate or sailboat engine’s drain plug back in place.
- Inspect all mufflers for signs of rust or peeling paint.
- Operate the steering gear lock-to-lock.
- Clean your batteries’ terminals and cable clamps before you connect them.
Completing this thorough check list before launching your boat for the summer will give you and those aboard peace of mind and allow you to truly enjoy your time out on the water. Contact a Penny Insurance Agent today to discuss your marine recreation protection options.
Everyone loves the idea of the great American road trip. More and more families are vacationing in their portable homes, more commonly known as RVs. Recreational vehicles (RVs) have grown in popularity as the ideal option for a long road trip. Just like your homes and cars need to be insured, it’s important to insure your RV. When owning a home on wheels, there are going to be several insurance implications that a typical car or home may not have.
Purchasing your RV:
Purchasing an RV may actually be easier than purchasing a car. Recreational vehicles come in assorted sizes and price ranges, making it easy for you to pick the best fit for your family’s needs from a 22-foot Class B to a bus-size luxury vehicle. Options and versatile floor plans make it easy and quick to find a RV that matches your lifestyle and budget. One of the most popular luxury vehicles that RV enthusiasts appreciate are slide outs. They extend the interior living space greatly with the touch of a button. RV’s can have up to four slide outs, allowing for a comfortable interior. Like cars, RV manufacturers are continuing to develop the latest and greatest products to meet the needs of every customer. If you have ATVs, jet skis, motorcycles and/or mountain bikes, toy haulers feature a fold-up ramp on the back that make loading a breeze.
Perks of Traveling via RV:
The Southeast offers a wonderful range of outdoor activities—and it’s not unusual for our clients to own vehicles that allow them to take advantage of it. During these hot summer months, our clients love traveling in their RVs to the beach or mountains. One of the greatest perks of traveling by RV is that you get to take your home with you. RVs are built for comfortable living, dining, sleeping and bathroom space. Most RVs have propane tanks that light the stove and power the refrigerator. Electrical systems run off the RV’s batteries or gas, or diesel- powered generator. Separate water tanks allow for fresh water to be separate from waste water. Fuel prices would have to double for typical RV vacations to cost more than other forms of travel. Saving on air, hotel and restaurant costs offset the cost of fuel.
Factors that determine the type of RV insurance you need:
There are three classes that determine what type of RV insurance to get—A, B and C classes. Class A includes vehicles up to 75 feet long and models such as the luxury coach, converted bus and motor coach. Class B is the smallest class of recreational vehicle, which includes cargo van type designs, travel trailers and camper vans. Class C includes vehicles that use a standard cargo van as the driving portion of the RV with the camper portion extending over the cab area. Class C also covers fifth wheel vehicles. Like all insurance plans here at Penny Insurance Agency, RV insurance is definitely not one size fits all. We work with you to build a custom plan based on the class of your vehicle, how much you use it and whether you will live in the RV full time, among other factors.
Penny Insurance Agency is here to help insure all of your “fun”. Whether it’s on your boat, motorcycle, ATV or RV, we make sure that you’re covered at an affordable rate. We offer outstanding insurance coverage. Not to mention, we can help you combine your “fun” insurance with serious insurance, such as your real home and auto, allowing you to take advantage of discounts that could help save you some serious money. Call us today or fill out the contact form and breath a true sigh of relief as you kick back and enjoy the open road.