Advice & Features Articles

So, Your Teen is Ready to Start Driving—Now What?

By Colleen Benzin | Contributor

Teen Drivers—the best of times and the worst of times. Having a teen driver is so awesome (less carpools for you!) and so terrifying (we don’t have to tell you that), but luckily there is a ton of great information out there on how you can prepare your child to be a responsible driver and prepare your family to have a new driver in the house.

Teach them about distracted driving

When you’re a parent of a teen, one of the scariest milestones is when they’re learning how to drive. You’re so worried about them learning skills like merging properly and remembering to check their rear-view mirror, it’s easy to forget to warn them against one of the biggest road risks—distracted driving.

When we think “distracted driving”, our minds often jump to texting and driving. But there’s so much more to it than just texting, including things that many drivers do on a regular basis without realizing they’re distracting themselves. The brain is only capable of performing one task at a time, so when we think we’re “multitasking”, all we’re doing is quickly switching from one task to the other. That’s why literally anything that takes your attention from the road is a form of distracted driving.

You can help keep your teen driver safe and focused on the road by doing these three simple things:

  • Be Their Role Model: If you want your teen to be a responsible driver, it’s important to set the example for how they should behave behind the wheel. Set aside time for practice sessions to ensure they’re instilling habits to keep themselves distraction-free on the road.
  • Make Safe Driving Fun: Instill good behaviors by using rewards and eye-catching reminders like a fingernail painted red or a red string tied on the wheel. Maybe every time you catch each other engaging in distracted driving, the perpetrator has to put a dollar in a jar that goes toward a safe driving foundation.
  • Utilize Technology: There are so many great apps and devices you and your teen can use to reinforce good driving habits. Apps like Bouncie, which is a feature Apparent Insurance offers, lets you know things like if your teen is braking too hard or driving too fast, which may be signs they’re distracted. Many smartphones have built-in features you can activate to stay focused behind the wheel.

Prepare them for an accident

Although we all wish accidents didn’t happen, it’s important for teens to know what to do both immediately and in the days after an accident.

Keep this checklist with 10 things to do in case of an accident in their glovebox:

  1. Get in a safe place—move the car to the shoulder of the road or a nearby parking lot and turn on the hazards.
  2. Turn off the vehicle.
  3. Check on others to make sure no one is in need of immediate medical assistance.
  4. Call the police, even if it’s a minor fender bender.
  5. Document the scene of the accident and take photos with a phone.
  6. Exchange information with the other driver: driver/passenger names, contact info, license plate numbers, insurance info, and vehicle make/model.
  7. Do not discuss fault with the other party.
  8. Contact the auto insurance company as soon as possible.
  9. Later that day, write down everything that happened and store it in an easy-to-remember location.
  10. As time goes on, start a file of all documentation and correspondence, and keep everything in one place.

Minimize the cost of adding them to your policy

It’s no secret that insuring a teen driver can make your insurance significantly more expensive. Here’s a few tips to help prevent your rates from jumping up unexpectedly and keep your plan cost-effective:

  1. Brag about your student’s grades! Many insurance companies offer a Good Student Discount to any student with at least a “B” average.
  2. Insure multiple cars. Adding another vehicle to your policy is often more cost-effective than people realize—customers save up to 26% with Apparent Insurance when they insure more than one vehicle.
  3. Look for accident forgiveness. Teens are more likely to have an accident within their first year of driving, and Apparent Insurance offers upgraded accident forgiveness so the first accident will not increase your rates.
  4. Keep in mind how often they’ll be driving. Some insurance companies offer a student-away-at-school discount, which can help you save when older teens head off to college.
  5. Encourage safe driving. A Diminishing Deductible can reduce the collision deductible on your policy each year by $100 just by being a safe driver.

The bottom line
Driving can be stressful, no matter how long you’ve been doing it. Even though your teen might be excited to learn to drive, they might also be nervous. And even though you might be feeling some pressure, Apparent Insurance is there to help put your mind at ease with unique features for teen drivers and parents of teens—after all, the auto insurance company was designed by parents for parents.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2020. Colleen Benzin is an insurance specialist with Apparent Insurance. For information go to ApparentInsurance.com.

Apparent Insurance

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