For the new driver in your family, a set of car keys means freedom. But to you as a parent it can mean extra worries and sleepless nights. So, what can you do? You play an important role in teen driving safety. Clearly defining your expectations and instilling the rules of the road are good places to start. Before you toss your young driver the keys, be sure to go over these rules for teen drivers.
1. No Phones While Driving
This is a big one. While there are many distractions to avoid while driving, cellphones are a major offender. Talk with your teen about putting their phone out of sight while driving. Setting the do not disturb feature while driving can help eliminate the temptation to text and drive or even answer a call, but powering off while driving is the best way for new drivers to avoid distraction altogether.
2. Buckle Up
Is it possible that teenage drivers are the least likely age group to wear their seat belts? Research backs up that surprising fact. Wearing a seatbelt is one of the most important car rules for teenage drivers. Remind your teen that wearing their seatbelt is not only the law (they can get a ticket for not wearing it) but buckling up can be a lifesaving habit.
3. No Drugs or Alcohol
This is an obvious rule, but it’s important to have a thorough discussion on this topic with your young driver. It’s never okay to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or to get in the car with someone who is.
4. Limit Passengers
Your state may have limits on the number of passengers your teen can have in the car, but even if it doesn’t, let your teen know that having too many people in the car will lead to distractions. One or two friends may be okay, but perhaps you don’t want your teen to drive with any more people than that. Set clear rules for your new teenage driver early on and adjust as they gain experience.
5. Obey Driving Laws
Allow no exceptions here. Speed limits, coming to a complete stop, using turn signals, etc., are not recommendations. New drivers must abide by these laws because tickets, crashes and suspended or revoked driving privileges will take them back to square one.
6. Avoid Low-Visibility Conditions
For a young driver, less than ideal driving conditions can make a big difference. Driving in the dark or in inclement weather can present safety concerns with limited visibility. Be sure new drivers take the right safety precautions in low-visibility conditions. Setting rules, for a new driver especially, will keep your teen from encountering a hazardous situation they aren’t prepared for. Talk with your teen about which weather conditions are okay to drive in and which aren’t.
Your young driver’s safety is your top priority. Talk with your local Farm Bureau agent about our Young Driver Safety Program, which can offer your teen the chance to build skill and confidence behind the wheel. Your agent can discuss details with you and help ensure you and your teen have the right auto insurance coverage.