Safe Driving Essentials for Teens

Category: Personal Insurance

Auto accidents are the leading cause of death among Americans aged 15 – 19, according to the Centers for Disease Control. If you have a teen driver in your household, you know that for this reason insurers charge higher rates for teens than for any other group. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, a teen driver can cause your automobile insurance rates to jump significantly—from 50% to even 100%.

Fortunately, most insurance companies offer a variety of discounts that reward teens and parents for safe driving. These and other proactive measures can help you keep your premiums down, and more importantly, keep your teen safe while on the road.

  • Driver monitoring devices. Several insurance companies offer electronic devices that help monitor teen drivers. Drivers who meet certain safe driving benchmarks can be rewarded with discounted insurance premiums, or some companies even provide a discount just for agreeing to use the monitor. If your insurance company does not offer a monitoring device in exchange for a discount, you can still purchase your own device or app that will help you monitor your teen and promote safe driving.
  • Older vehicles/newer vehicles. Driving an older car can help you save money on your insurance premium. However, you should also consider the potential cost savings that come with the added safety features of newer vehicles.
  • Remove students away at college. Many insurers offer discounts for temporarily removing from your auto insurance policy a college student who is away at school.
  • Safe driving courses. Insurance companies often provide safe driving programs for young, inexperienced drivers. Often simply taking the course makes you eligible for a discount.
  • Get good grades. Good student discounts are common among insurers. Your teen typically must be a full-time student and receive a “B” average or higher in all of his or her school subjects in order to receive the discount.

It is vital that we teach our teens the importance of safe driving habits, and that staying focused and avoiding distractions can literally save their lives.

Make sure your teen knows and practices the following safe driving essentials.

  • Do not talk on the phone while driving. Using a cell phone while driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving, even if you are using a hands-free phone.
  • Do not text and drive. Texting causes you to lose focus on the road for at least five seconds, and that is plenty of time for something to go terribly wrong.
  • Always turn on your headlights. This helps you see better as well as helps others see you.
  • Obey the posted speed limit. Speeding causes about 40% of all fatal teen car accidents.
  • Stay focused on the road and minimize distractions. Refrain from eating, drinking and playing with the radio. Lack of focus can cause an inexperienced driver to lose control of the vehicle.
  • Don’t drive with friends. Having teen passengers in the car with you greatly escalates the risk of getting in an accident.
  • Practice defensive driving. Always be aware of the traffic ahead of you, behind you, and next to you. At slower speeds, stay one car length behind the car in front of you. Keep the distance between you and other cars even farther when you are driving at faster speeds.
  • Drive a safe car. If possible, drive a car with the latest safety equipment (antilock brakes, electronic stability control, airbags).

Do you have a teen driver in your household? Have you discussed with your teen the importance of safe driving, and in particular the dangers of texting and driving? Are you eligible for any safe driver discounts? Talk with your agent today to find out.

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