For many parents, back-to-school time brings a variety of changes in the household, from gathering school supply lists to ordering uniforms and enforcing earlier bedtimes. As moms and dads adjust to changes a new school year brings, they might also have new teen drivers in the home who earned their driver’s licenses over the summer and who now want to drive to school or their college campus. If your teen will be hitting the road this fall, there are a few driving safety tips you can teach them that will keep them and others safe once the school bell rings.
Do Not Drive Distracted
While most teens have probably already heard about the dangers of using their cell phones while driving, there are many other distractions that may take their eyes off the road and cause an accident. Adjusting the radio, eating, drinking, and laughing and talking with other people in the car can all cause your teen driver to become distracted.
As your teen leaves for school, remind him or her to make all the necessary adjustments to the car before they get on the road. Have them preset the radio, plug in any electronics to charge, and finish any food or drink to reduce the number of possible distractions these factors can create while they are driving.
Be Vigilant in School Zones
Areas around schools swell with traffic and pedestrians once school starts, and this can create a maze of confusion for a new teen driver. The Emergency Medical Services Authority reports that incidents of accidents for teens can increase to almost seven times the normal number during the early fall, especially for high-school aged drivers. Since accidents in school zones can involve young pedestrians, being vigilant in these areas is important to their safety as well as to your teen driver.
Encourage your teen to turn down the radio and ask their friends to avoid distracting them when they enter a school zone. Have them pay special attention to their speed, move slowly through crosswalks, and always give pedestrians the right of way.
Review the Route
If you have a teen driver that received his or her license toward the end of the summer, then they may feel nervous or apprehensive about driving in heavy traffic or in unfamiliar places. One way to alleviate this fear is to take the time to make a few practice runs to your teen’s school before the new year starts. Have your teen note where crosswalks are, how to access the student parking lot, and where they might encounter especially heavy traffic.
As you make these practice runs, ask your teen which driving situation might make him or her especially nervous. For example, if maneuvering around school buses make him or her nervous, plan a route that may help avoid them. Being prepared to encounter these vehicles may make all the difference.
Review Your Insurance Policy with Your Teen
Before your teen starts driving to campus, it is a good idea to review your auto insurance policy with him or her so they know how to react in case of an accident, even if it is minor. Teach them how to read the policy, discuss the difference between collision and comprehensive insurance, and who they should contact if they have any questions.
For example, if you live in central Arizona and want to add your teen driver onto your existing policy, then you can visit your local Phoenix auto insurance agent to ask about how this may affect your rates. Visiting the office can also give your teen driver the chance to ask your agent insurance questions that might make them feel more confident as a new driver.
New teen drivers face a variety of challenges when they start driving themselves to school. However, with a bit of preparation and education, they can hit the road confidently and safely.