It’s back-to-school time and many young, relatively inexperienced drivers are headed off to college or will be using the car to get to high school and other activities. This newfound independence is exciting, but it can also be a bit worrisome for concerned parents. Before school season is back in full swing, follow these simple tips on how you can make the transition as smooth and easy as possible.
1. Become familiar with Pennsylvania’s Young Driver Law.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the U.S. It’s a horrifying statistic for all parents. That’s why PennDOT continually looks for ways to enhance the driver’s license issuance process for teens while maintaining a balance between safety and mobility. Be sure you and your young driver read through Pennsylvania’s Young Driver Law before getting out on the road. Some of the Junior License restrictions on passenger limitation and nighttime driving may surprise you.
2. Set clear rules with a Teen-Parent Driving Agreement.
It may not be the most fun conversation to have with your teen driver, but setting clear rules is a safety basic that can help save their lives. Consider implementing a driving curfew, limiting the number of passengers permitted in the car, or specifying safe areas where your teen can drive. Whatever guidelines you think are best, discuss them in advance and write up a driving contract to seal the deal.
3. Surround them in safety.
Your teen may have their dream car all picked out, but safety needs to be a priority when choosing the car your teen will drive, especially when they’re a brand new driver. Consider opting for something that sits close to the ground (to minimize rollover risk) and something that isn’t overly powerful. Also make sure the car is equipped with air bags, electronic stability control and automatic breaking systems. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety publishes a list of affordable used vehicles to guide parents.
4. Discuss what to do in the event of an accident.
In the unfortunate event of an accident, your young driver should know how to handle the situation. It’s a good idea to keep a to-do list for after a crash in the car, along with insurance cards and other important safety information. Here’s a great resource from the NAIC that outlines what to do immediately following an accident and walks you through a step-by-step process to create your own accident report.
5. Take advantage of the auto insurance discounts your young driver may be eligible for.
Adding a teenage driver to your auto insurance policy is going to add to the cost of your insurance premium, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Your young driver may qualify for multiple discounts which may reduce your auto insurance premium quite a bit. Speak with your insurance agent about these discounts in particular:
- Driving training course – on the road and in the classroom
- Good student – B’s or better, you’ll need to supply a copy of current grades
- Occasional operator – less vehicles than drivers, results in a lower premium than having equal vehicles to drivers
- College student – discounts available based on school distance and whether or not the vehicle is on-site
Safety on the road is especially important for young drivers, who have a statistically higher risk of being in an accident than more experienced drivers. Make sure that your teen understands that driving is a privilege that can be granted and taken away. Driving is not a right. Stress to your teen that this privilege comes with many responsibilities and can be rescinded at any time if any of the agreed-upon rules that you create are broken.
Arbor Insurance Group provides car insurance, home insurance, and other personal insurance products throughout the Lehigh Valley, including Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton, Emmaus, Macungie and surrounding areas.