Sixteen years ago, you couldn’t imagine the warm, snuggly bundle in your arms ever being old enough to leave home without you, let alone drive a car. The day has come, though. Your baby is now old enough to drive, and they’ve got a license to prove the state thinks they’re capable of it.
It’s a scary thing to let your teen driver out into the world like this, and of course you’re going to worry. But if you have some important conversations with your kids, maybe you can worry a little less.
Make sure, before you let them out on the road and as often as necessary afterward, you talk to them about these things. It could save their life.
- Seat belts must be worn at all times, including by their passengers. Tell them to refuse to leave until their friends put them on.
- Don’t talk or text while driving. Distracted driving is the leading cause of accidents. The message can wait until they’re parked somewhere.
- Always obey the speed limit. Driving too fast can turn a minor accident into a really bad one.
- Never, ever drink and drive. Let your kids know you’d rather they call you to come pick them up than ever get in a car after even one drink.
- Tell them to be ready for anything with an emergency kit in their trunk. It should include jumper cables, a flashlight and batteries, and a first aid kit.
- Stay off the road in really bad weather. If they’re out in it when snow or rain falls and they can’t see, advise them to get off the road as quickly and safely as possible. It’s better to be late because of bad weather than to get into an accident.
- Remind them to watch for pedestrians and people on bicycles. Also talk about school zones - slowing down for them and stopping for buses while out on the road.
- Teach your kids how to read a road map. It’s easy to think GPS and navigation systems will always be there, but some areas are too new or too rural for GPS to find.
- Talk about aggressive driving. Help them understand the importance of not swerving in and out of traffic, looking both ways before pulling into the road, and not engaging with people who become aggressive with them on the road.
- Make sure the car has plenty of gas, especially before a long drive or when headed into rural areas without a lot of gas stations. Let them know to tell you when any lights come on like the “check engine” light so it can be taken care of immediately. They need to understand the importance of vehicle maintenance to stay safe on the road.
When you’re in the car with your teen driver, point out little things that probably wasn’t in their driving test. Always find opportunities to teach them how to be a safer driver. Most of the time it doesn’t seem like they’re listening, but if you say it enough, the information will sink in.
If you’ve got a new teen driver and need to add them to your auto insurance policy, contact us here at Charlotte Insurance. We can get them added and check to make sure you get any discounts you qualify for so the cost isn’t too high.