Step 1: Take a deep breath, it will be ok! It can be a scary thing to hand over the car keys to your new teen driver, but they studied hard and passed their driving exam for a reason. It’s time to let go. Keep your children safe and your insurance costs consistent with these teen driving tips.
The age-old debate: Old or new car?
Your teen may have been driving a different car for practice and have since purchased a new/used car or inherited an older model. Insurance rates will vary depending on the type of vehicle they drive and you’ll most likely be paying a higher premium for a new driver. It’s important to know the ins and outs of owning/purchasing a vehicle before they hit the road.
Contact your local Rural Mutual agent today for more information and insights on how to select an auto insurance policy that’s right for your teen driver.
Getting to know the vehicle
Every car is different. Help your teen get settled before they leave the lot to limit distractions down the road. In case of an emergency, make sure they know where any emergency supplies are. It’s a good idea to store a spare tire, a flashlight and first aid kit. They might roll their eyes at you, but make sure they know how to use the GPS system and set up hands free calling for emergency calls.
Obeying the rules of the road
Driving classes go over A LOT of instructions. Some information might have been forgotten. Review signage and laws anytime your teenager is a passenger in your vehicle as a mini quiz session. When bad weather is predicted (which is often in the Midwest), drive together to review how to handle heavy downpours, black ice, fog, and driving at night.
Driving in a rural area means there are even more signs and rules than in your average community. Make sure your child knows these additional safe driving tips in case they are unfamiliar with farm or harvest season signage.
As a driver yourself, you know there are limitless distractions when driving. The statistics for distracted teen drivers are astounding – “Driver distraction is responsible for more than 58% of teen crashes.” Driving distractions can include texting, talking on a cell phone, eating, looking at social media, or anything that requires taking your eyes off the road.
Besides keeping the music down and storing cell phones away between point A and point B, make sure they limit the number of passengers in the vehicle. It’s important to keep any noise levels to a minimum to have maximum focus on the road and to hear emergency vehicle sirens. In Wisconsin, there is a “Move Over” law when vehicles are stopped on the side of the road, make sure you teen is aware of this. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and be an attentive driver.
A lot of parents set up reward systems for good behavior, so why not do the same thing for good driving? Ask your Rural Agent how your teen can be rewarded by being a good student and/or being a good driver.
Prevent future accidents
Schedule regular car inspections in your family calendar. Seasonal weather can wear and tear on the exterior of your vehicle – especially in the winter. Make sure your car is winter road ready to safely get to your destination.
Accidents happen – We’re all human and mistakes happen. If your teen driver is in an accident, make sure your child knows what to do as a precautionary measure. Besides dialing 911, they should know how to file a claim.
Count on Rural Mutual Insurance 24/7 to be there for you and your teen driver when you need us the most. Review your car insurance policy with your local Rural Mutual Insurance agent to make sure you’re properly protected when you hit the road. Pro-tip: Ask about a multi-vehicle bundle package for a discount!