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9 Tips to Drive Home Before Your Teen Takes the Wheel

May 25th, 2017

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Plus – Free Downloadable Teen Driver Accident Reporting Kit!

The freedom that comes with a driver’s license is like no other, as parents transition from being their child’s chauffeur to handing over the keys, and your teen takes on the enormous responsibility of manning a 2-ton metal object. “With great power comes greater responsibility”, and a car certainly constitutes great power.

In most states, including California, teenagers can apply for their provisional license at 16 years old. Did you know that 16-year-olds have higher crash rates than drivers of any other age? One in five 16-year-old drivers has an accident within their first year of driving, and per the California Office of Traffic Safety, a 16-year-old is 20 times more likely to be killed in a crash than an adult.

As we approach Memorial Day, considered day one of the “100 Deadliest Days” of driving, it’s important to remember that summer months see the highest percentage of teen crash deaths and that 58% of crashes involving teens are attributed to distracted driving.

Digest that for a moment. Over half of accidents involving teens are due to distractions.

Maybe your first reaction is easy-peasy, to make driving safer, eliminate distractions! But that is easier said than done. The list of distractions for a teen driver is lengthy.

  • Interacting with one or more passengers accounts for 15% of crashes and two-thirds of teen passenger deaths are in vehicles driven by other teenagers
  • Cell phone use accounts for 12% of crashes, with texting and social media usage on the rise with teen drivers that number could easily go up
  • Looking at something in the vehicle: 10% of crashes
  • Looking at something outside the vehicle: 9% of crashes
  • Singing/moving to music: 8% of crashes
  • Grooming: 6% of crashes
  • Reaching for an object: 6% of crashes

But before you buy your young driver a bus pass for the remainder of their teen years, there are several things you, as a parent, can do to prepare your child for the responsibility of life behind the wheel.

  1. Be a positive influence. Attitude is one of the most important factors in safe driving.
    • 56% of teenagers rely on their parents to learn how to drive.
    • Statistics show that over 74,000 young people die or are injured each year by not wearing seatbelts but teen drivers with involved parents are twice as likely to wear seat belt
  2. Stress the importance of never driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    • Young drivers are 17 times more likely to die in a crash when they have a blood alcohol concentration of .08% than when they have not been drinking.
  3. Stress the importance of maintaining the speed limit.
    • Over one-third of fatal crashes involving teens are speed related.
    • Crash risk for teens increases incrementally with each mile per hour over the speed limit.
  4. Explain constant awareness and the benefits of defensive driving to best understand possible hazards, road conditions, and mistakes of others.
    • One-third of all crashes are at intersections.
    • The common types of crashes involve left turns, rear-end events, and running off the road.
  5. Limit night driving for new drivers.
    • More than 40% of teen auto deaths occur between the hours of 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. The risk of a fatal crash is three times greater at night, for every mile driven.
  6. Discuss drowsy driving/fatigue and what to do if exhibiting signs of sleepiness.
    • Teen drivers who sleep less than 8 hours nightly are one-third more likely to crash than those who sleep 8 or more hours nightly.
  7. Encourage a zero-tolerance policy for cell phone use while driving.
    • Complete any call or text before starting the car.
    • Get directions before turning the key.
    • Check in with friends or parents only after arrival.
    • Pull over for urgent calls.
  8. Practice driving in all weather conditions.
    • This will ensure your teen is comfortable driving in all conditions.
  9. Empower your teen to speak up.
    • Only 44% of teens said they would speak up if someone were driving in a way that scared them. If your child is not comfortable with how a peer is driving, they should not get in the car.

Keeping an open dialogue regarding driving safety, and having an agreed upon action plan should your child find themselves in a situation where they are not comfortable driving or getting into a car with another driver, will enable your teen to make safe driving choices and create good habits. With today’s numerous rideshare options, including kid-specific services, equipping your teen with a rideshare app and the knowledge to use it, empowers them to always have a choice.

In the unfortunate event of an accident, prepare your child by explaining the steps to take:

  • Call 911/police to report accident (Don’t let other drivers talk you out of this)
  • Check for injuries and access the scene
  • Call your parents
  • Take photos of the scene, cars, and injuries if applicable
    • Position of cars involved
    • Damage to cars
    • Scene of accident (skid marks, road conditions, etc.)
    • Do not move cars, if possible, until pictures have been taken
  • Get information from other drivers (Name, address, phone number, license plate, insurance information)
  • Get the names and numbers of any witnesses
  • Write down what happened right away, to help recount the accident to authorities at a later time
  • Contact your insurance agent

For peace of mind, we offer you this free copy of our Teen Driver Accident Reporting Kit to keep in the car. This handy brochure will guide your teen driver, in the event of an accident.

Download Our Free Teen Driver Accident Reporting Kit

Brown & Brown Insurance Services of CA, Inc., understands the importance of family and work closely with you to assure you have the right auto insurance coverage.

Contact Suzette Mann today, for a personalized auto insurance quote.

Additional resources for parents and teens:

Suzette Mann

Personal Lines Account Executive

Suzette is a licensed Property/Casualty Personal Lines Account Executive with a demonstrated ability to cost effectively manage complicated personal insurance programs.


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