It’s common for a teen to develop bad habits and forget what they’ve learned after their mandatory safe driving courses are completed. And because teen drivers are riskier drivers, their insurance premiums are higher.
Education helps to reduce the risk of accidents. Participating in a driving safety course, particularly one aimed at new drivers, can help to reduce the risk of accidents by up to 30%. The teenSMART course, part of The Hanover SafeTeen program, is designed to teach new drivers to anticipate dangerous situations, recognize how risk changes as they drive, increase situational awareness, and expect the unexpected. Those who successfully complete the course will keep their discount on their auto policy.
When you’re not in the car with your teen, it’s hard to know if they are driving safely. You want to coach them and warn them of safety hazards, but you may not even know what is happening in the car when you aren’t with them. You can only hope they are making the best choice, which can leave you feeling uneasy.
If you can’t physically be there, having a mobile app to monitor driving is the next best thing. The SmartPath app, part of The Hanover SafeTeen program, monitors for behaviors such as speeding, braking, distracted driving, and other factors, and provides you a parent dashboard view of what’s happening. The parent gets a discount on their policy and the teen receives Amazon gift cards for safe driving and keeping an overall driving score of 80 or better.
Auto insurance premiums can be impacted by teen drivers on the policy. Looking for one more way to save? Parents of teen drivers may allow their child access to a certain car within the household while restricting access to others. This can be particularly true if the parent’s primary car is nicer, newer, and more expensive, especially since more expensive autos will have higher premiums already. But how can parents deter teens from borrowing the car they aren’t supposed to drive?
The ParentChoice deductible option, part of The Hanover SafeTeen program, allows parents to declare certain vehicles off limits by adding an additional deductible that is only applied if the car is involved in an accident while the teen is driving. If the parent is involved in an accident in this car, only the standard deductible that they selected would apply. The ParentChoice deductible option provides discounts on premium and added protection for the parents of teen drivers.
Teen drivers are 3x more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than drivers age 20 and older, and one in five 16-year-old drivers has an accident within the first year of driving. Nearly half of these accidents occur in the evening and on weekends.
Teaching your teen about safe driving is important and setting limitations on when a teen may drive can further reduce the risk of an accident. More impaired drivers are on the roads on evenings and weekends making it more dangerous to drive at that time. Lack of experience, decreased vision in the dark, and fatigue can all contribute to the risk of a crash, so limiting late night driving is a wise choice.
Driving with friends can be fun, but it’s also dangerous. For each passenger in the vehicle, the likelihood of a crash increases. In fact, the chances of an accident are 400% higher in a car with three or more passengers.
Many states have restrictions on the number of passengers a teen driver may transport, but parents should consider setting limits on this as well. By establishing ground rules and revoking driving privileges if teens break them, parents can encourage teens to drive more safely with fewer passengers.
Dialing a phone increases the risk of a traffic accident six-fold. A driver who is texting is 23 times more likely to crash. Even though using a handheld device while driving is prohibited in many places, it seems to be a rule many don’t follow. Where it is legal, the risk is higher.
Regardless of the law, using a phone while driving is dangerous and should not be allowed. Parents should model good behavior by keeping their own phone tucked away while driving. Parents should also avoid calling or texting their teen when it’s likely they are driving, and parents should reinforce that their teen should not answer calls or texts while driving.
No one should drive under the influence at any age and teen drinking is illegal in all 50 states. Yet, teens are more likely to drink and drive than adults over age 55. Tragically, one in six fatal accidents with teens involves alcohol.
Driving under the influence must not be tolerated under any circumstances and parents need to be clear and firm with teens that this unacceptable behavior will result in a loss of driving privileges. If caught by the police, they may face a suspended license, impoundment of the vehicle, and possible jail time.
While phones are often the cause of distracted driving, there are many other common behaviors that lead to distractions. Eating, drinking, checking the GPS, and changing music are all examples of actions that can temporarily divert a driver’s attention.
Teens need to understand that 100% of their focus and concentration should be on the road while driving. Eating, drinking, and other tasks can all wait until the car is not in motion. Parents should model this by also avoiding such distractions.
Car crashes are the number one killer of teens, so driving safety is imperative. Teens need to have rules around driving as well as a clear understanding of expectations.
Parents can set up a “New Driver Deal” with their teens. This is usually a written document outlining rules and expectations for the new driver. Issues such as when the car may be used, how many passengers are allowed, and where the car can be driven can all be addressed. The document can also lay out the consequences of not following the rules.
The type of vehicle a teen drives can increase the risk of a crash. Style may be the biggest factor for a young driver and safety can be overlooked if the teen has the final say in the car they drive.
When selecting a car for a new driver, safety should be a top priority. Avoid large vehicles such as pickup trucks, minivans, and “tanks,” as they are harder to handle and more likely to encourage multiple passengers. Cheap cars, even if they are new, may lack the best safety features. Many experts suggest that parents should look for cars with electronic stability control features.
Many parents are concerned about the premium increase they’ll face when their teen becomes a licensed driver, and rightfully so. Adding a teen driver to an auto policy can increase the premium by as much as 79-92%.
Parents can take steps to minimize their increase when a teen driver is added to their policy. By educating their teen, understanding their driving habits, and rewarding smart decision-making on the roads, parents may qualify for savings. Teens who do well in school and maintain good grades may also be eligible for additional discounts. The Hanover offers SafeTeen with three program options available to help keep your teen safe and minimize the increased premium for adding a teen driver.
Teens are less likely to wear their seatbelts than older drivers. 86% of teens wear their seatbelts compared to 90% of adult drivers. The CDC states that more than half of the individuals who died in car crashes in 2016 were not wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash.
If the car is moving, everyone should be wearing a seatbelt—no exceptions. Teen drivers should be encouraged to demand all passengers buckle up before hitting the road. And, because teens are two times more likely to wear their seatbelts if they have involved parents, it’s important for parents to always be positive role models by buckling up, too.