Although you may notice that I am sometimes critical of how insurance companies treat their own customers, now and then I see something that makes me think that the insurance company is actually thinking about their own insureds. Below is a great list of driving tips for teenage drivers that was published by Safeco Insurance. Given the fact that I have two teenage drivers in my own house (ugghhhh!!), I know we can never reinforce to our kids enough the idea of safe driving!
Driver’s licenseMost teenagers are excited and proud about getting their first driver’s license. Make the most of this time by helping your teen along the way. A few helpful hints: Obtain the license handbook from your local Department of Motor Vehicles. Be sure your teen studies the handbook and takes practice tests. Ten hours of study is normally sufficient and if your teen passes two of the practice exams, he or she is very likely to pass the exam. You can also help your teen by quizzing him or her.Prepare your teen for all kinds of driving situations.Knowing your teen is prepared to handle unique situations will go a long way in giving you confidence and peace of mind that he or she is ready to drive. There’s a variety of challenges and unexpected occurrences to prepare for some within your control and some out of your control. Part of ensuring your teen’s safety is being proactive with providing tips and advice on how to handle these kinds of situations before they happen.If your teen needs to drive in bad weatherDriving in inclement weather is a leading cause of accidents.* Whether your teen is facing ice, snow, rain or fog, there are certain precautions he or she should take if he or she needs to drive at these times. Here are some tips you can pass along to your teen to reduce the risk of accidents:Rain Reduce your speed. Turn on your lights and ensure that your field of vision is clear. If necessary, use the air conditioner or defroster to improve visibility. As always, make sure that you have the proper treads on your tires.Fog Turn on your headlights to low beam, whether it’s day or night. Stay to the right of the road and stay a safe distance behind the car ahead of you. If visibility is extremely low, pull off the road to the right and turn on your emergency hazard lights. Wait until visibility improves.Snow and Ice Bridges and overpasses freeze before roads do because of the cold air that passes underneath them. So always slow down and avoid sudden changes in speed or direction when driving on bridges or overpasses. Use your brakes cautiously. If you have antilock brakes, apply firm and consistent pressure to the pedal in accordance with your car’s manual. If you don’t have antilock brakes, slowly pump the brakes to prevent your brakes from locking up. Maintain a steady, slow speed. If you are stuck in the snow, straighten the wheel and accelerate slowly. Don’t spin the tires. Consider carrying sand or cinders to place under the wheels for traction. You should also keep a small shovel and a sleeping bag in the trunk for extremely cold conditions or travel*Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). through remote areas.If the car breaks down or runs out of gas It’s extremely important to prepare your teen for the unfortunate event of his or her car breaking down or running out of gas. Especially since in many instances you won’t be immediately available to help your teen. This is a key reason why Safeco offers 24/7 Roadside Assistance with Teensurance to help get your teen to safety and give you the peace of mind that your teen will not be stranded.Here’s some helpful advice to share with your young driver:1. Get the car off the road as quickly as possible only when it’s safe to do so. If you didn’t get the car off the road before it stalled, it’s important to move it so it won’t become a potential safety hazard to other motorists.2. To push your car off the road, put on your hazard lights and shift your car into neutra l. Once your car is in a safe location and stopped, be sure to place the car back into par k and set the emergency brake.3. Keep your hazard lights on. This will help your vehicle be more visible to motorists. Keeping your hazard lights on will also signal to law enforcement that you either plan to return to your car quickly or that you need help.4. If you have a cell phone, stay in the car and call for roadside assistance. (Teensurance comes with roadside assistance that covers your teen in most any vehicle he or she drives so make sure the number is programmed into his or her cell phone or that the wallet card is accessible.)Note: Keep in mind that each situation your teen faces could be unique and might require different actions.Dealing with the effects of peer pressureLet’s be honest. P eer pressure is a powerful motivator to teens, causing them to do things they wouldn’t normally do. But with Teensurance, parents have the opportunity to set limits and boundaries around speed, safe driving areas and times and be notified in real-time if those limits have been exceeded. Sometimes, these mistakes are unintentional. Other times, peer pressure can cause teens to push beyond their limits. Thankfully, you’ll know and will be able to have a conversation with your teenager about what happened and how to avoid these situations in the future. Maybe more importantly, it gives your teen a valid reason why he or she can’t participate in risky behavior. In the end, what matters most is providing your teenager with the freedom to drive responsibly. Teensurance can assist you in providing this freedom without compromising your teen’s safety or your peace of mind.If there’s an accidentUnfortunately, accidents happen. So it’s important that your teen knows exactly what to do if there is one. To make sure your teen understands the proper process to follow in an accident, give him or her the card on the back of this brochure. It includes essential information such as:1. Stop. If you leave the site of an accident you could be charged with a “hit and run” regardless of whether or not you think it’s your fault.2. Exchange information with all parties involved in the accident, including: names and driver’s license numbers, vehicle identification numbers, name and contact information of the car owners, plus insurance company names, addresses and policy numbers. If possible, take pictures of the accident scene.3. If you hit a parked car and its driver is not around, you may not leave the scene of the accident until you have left a note in a conspicuous place that includes your name, address, explanation of the accident, and the name and address of your car’s owner. If you don’t, you could be charged with a “hit and run.”