Handing the keys over to your teen driver can be nerve-wracking. It’s important that your teen knows the consequences of driving distracted. In 2016, distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives, and teenage drivers were the biggest age group reported as driving distracted at the time of a fatal crash, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Before your teen gets behind the wheel be sure to use the 10 tips below to help him or her develop safe driving habits.
Top 10 Tips for Your Teen Driver
Participate in a Safe-driving Course
The more practice your teen driver has behind the wheel, the better prepared they’ll be for the unexpected. Check with your state’s department of motor vehicles and find an approved list of safe-driving courses. Often, these courses can be taken online or in-person. And, while you’re looking for ways to save, don’t forget to talk with your local Farm Bureau agent about our Young Driver Safety Program!
Distractions are everywhere, from electronic billboards to ringing phones. Encourage your teen to turn their cellphone off and put it out of sight. Talk with your teen about vowing to avoid distractions and focus on the road ahead. Join the thousands of drivers who have taken our Safe Driving Pledge!
Practice Nighttime Driving
Nighttime driving takes extra experience and additional skill. Give your teen plenty of supervised opportunities to practice driving at night and in all kinds of weather and situations before allowing them to take the wheel solo in the dark.
Respect the Speed Limit
Excessive speed contributes to a majority of traffic fatalities. Your teen, who is relatively new to driving, might not yet understand how to intuitively “feel” the speed they’re driving or how to accelerate properly. Lead by example, watch your speed and help monitor your teen’s speed when you’re riding along.
Watch the Weather
Teen drivers are especially vulnerable to bad weather conditions as they’ve not had much practice with snow, ice, heavy rain and fog. Teach your teen driver how to compensate for bad weather by slowing down and increasing following distance.
Practice School Zone Safety
If your new teen is going to be driving to and from school each day, they need to be extra mindful in school zones. Here are a few things to remember:
- Always stop for school buses with flashing lights. The flashing lights mean that students are getting off or on the bus and may be crossing the street.
- Schools often have fire lanes around the school; ensure your driver is aware where these lanes are and not to park in them.
- Beat the rush. Encourage your teen to arrive five to 10 minutes early and leave later to avoid the mad dash in and out of the parking lot!
Err on the Side of Caution at Yellow Lights
To speed up or slow down? Attempting to outrun a yellow light is a dangerous practice. When riding along with your teen driver, teach them to always practice caution when approaching yellow lights, which normally mean stopping for them rather than running them.
Encourage Good Grades
Good grades can help you and your young driver save on their car insurance. At Farm Bureau Financial Services, you’ll receive a discount when your student driver maintains a “B” average or higher.
Hands on the Wheel, Eyes on the Road Always
Drivers have the most control over their vehicle when both hands are on the wheel and their eyes are on the road. This will also help limit and discourage distracted driving.
Practice what YOU Preach!
Lastly, set a good example for your young driver. Drive safely, buckle up, and avoid distractions while you’re behind the wheel.
Instilling safe driving habits and reminding them of the importance of avoiding distractions behind the wheel can help your young driver head in the right direction. Connect with your local Farm Bureau Agent and learn more about our Young Driver Discount and how to enroll your teen into the Farm Bureau Young Driver Safety Program.