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September 2012

7 Rules to Keep Your Teen Driver Safer

The big day: your teen finally got their license.

Teen Driver

It's the start of new opportunities for them, perhaps less chauffeuring for you. Unfortunately, this milestone represents just the beginning and not the finish line. Read on for some rules to establish with your teen to hopefully keep them safer when they are ready to start driving.

Let teen drivers know what is expected of them

While not a comprehensive list, the following rules provide a good starting point. In addition to making sure they understand your state's traffic laws, you can help establish safe driving tactics by letting teen drivers know they:

  • Must always wear a seat belt whenever driving. Same goes for any passengers.

  • Should not travel with more than one passenger.

  • Must pay attention to the road: something in or out of the car cannot distract them. Many accidents that occur at night are due to difficult driving conditions combined with distractions caused by passengers.

  • Are to obey all traffic laws and speed limits, and reduce speed in case of bad weather conditions.

  • Are absolutely not allowed to talk or text on a cellphone while driving. Ever. If they have to, they should pull over in a safe area and make the call.

  • Should never drink alcohol or use drugs and drive. Ever.

Some great information from Farmers on educating teen drivers can be found here. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) has a program they have developed to improve teen safety. Click here to read more about their program.

Graduated Driver Licensing: Helping reduce teen accidents

Graduated driver licensing, in which new drivers acquire actual driving experience gradually and under lower-risk conditions, has shown to be the most effective approach in reducing teen accidents. The graduated system establishes additional requirements during the permit phase for a new driver, with the goal of developing more experienced teen drivers. There are some exceptions allowed for teen drivers with this program as well: teenagers subject to graduated licensing are allowed to drive to school, work and extracurricular activities, so it's not as restrictive as it may first seem. All states allow exceptions so that teenagers may drive for specified purposes during restricted hours. Check with your state to see what rules apply.

Your part in your teen's driving behavior 

Establishing and making sure the above rules are followed will give your teen a good foundation when it comes to being a safe driver. As an additional tip, remember to exhibit safe driving behaviors you want them to mimic. Whether you notice it or not, they are picking up on your driving style or techniques, often well before they reach actual driving age. Letting them know what is expected of them as a driver, exhibiting good behaviors, in conjunction with a Graduated Driver Licensing program, will give your teen driver a great head start on a lifetime of safe driving.

Please note: This information is of a general nature for educational purposes only. It must not be taken as advice and does not signify an endorsement. 21st Century Insurance is not responsible for any injuries or loss incurred.

Sources: www.nhtsa.gov; www.teendriversource.org; www.usatoday.com; www.iihs.org; www.nih.gov

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