Preparing Your Teenager for Responsibility of Becoming a Driver
Obtaining a driver’s license is a milestone for many teenagers and can be an exciting — yet scary — time. Parents who want to keep their children safe and have cheap student car insurance costs should take several steps toward preparing the teenager.
Teach Lessons Gradually
The best way for a teenager to learn how to drive safely is through gradual learning. As early as possible, parents should teach their children everything they can about the rules of the road. The most ideal time to do this is when the teen is riding as a passenger. Parents can point out what they’re looking for while driving and why they do what they do. Certain driving rules are difficult to remember, such as rules regarding the right-of-way. Parents should explain how these rules work as early as possible.
Parents should also drive as responsibly as possible. Most teens pay attention to how other people drive when the time comes near for them to hit the road. When parents drive irresponsibly, their teens are more likely to see these driving behaviors as acceptable.
Parents should also discourage teens from engaging in unsafe driving practices, such as driving while taking on a cell phone or putting on make-up. These practices are major causes of accidents and the sooner that parents emphasize their concerns about these unsafe driving practices, the better.
When the teen is ready to start driving, he or she should first practice driving in a deserted area where there are few places where a teen could have an accident. Try to have the teen stay far away from any nearby objects — such as parked cars, light poles and buildings — until the parent is confident that the teen can drive near these objects without an accident.
As the teen becomes more confident, parents can have the teen drive on residential streets where there is slow traffic, allowing the teen to become comfortable sharing the road with others. The teen should not drive on busier roads until he or she has driven on residential roads for roughly 10 hours.
One of the most difficult parts of driving for teens is the parallel parking part of the test. Parents might be afraid to teach their teens how to do this out of fear of an accident. One way to teach teens how to parallel park while minimizing the risk of damage to the car — if the teen accidentally hits something — is to set-up two plastic garbage cans and have the teen pretend that the garbage cans are cars.
Teens should also avoid driving in inclement weather until the teen has mastered driving under normal conditions. The teen should be given advice on how to handle these situations, such as driving slower during rain and snow or pulling off to the side of the road if the fog is bad enough that visibility is severely compromised. Teens should also be told what to do when their car breaks down and should be given instructions on how to jump a car. The teen should also be given the right numbers to call in the event that the car breaks down.
Car and Health Insurance
When it comes time to put the teen on the parent’s car insurance, the teen should be informed about rules regarding car insurance and accidents. The teen should know how to file a claim when the accident occurs and should always have car insurance information available. Parents also need to be prepared to see their car insurance rates go up when they have a teen behind the wheel, since car insurance companies see more teens get into car accidents and generally raise rates as a result.
Given that car insurance and health insurance differ, parents must also make sure that their children have adequate health insurance that can pay for any medical bills resulting from a car accident. Many health insurance programs will cover both the parents and their teens.
One of the best ways to prepare teens for driving and to help teens learn the rules of the road is to have them take a driver’s education course. These courses usually combine a classroom experience with at least three trips on the road with a certified driving instructor. These instructors know about the common mistakes that teens make when driving and can address them early on.
After awhile, driving can be second nature and parents often forget how complex driving actually is. The greater the effort that parents make to prepare their children for the road, the more likely that they will be safe.