Teen driving tips: A checklist for parents and teens

Posted in Auto

A teenage girl and her father smile and wear their seatbelts as they sit in the front of a car.

New driver alert! Parents (or guardians) and teens, it’s time to have a serious talk about the teenager learning to drive in your household. It’s exciting, it’s nerve-wracking and it’s so much responsibility to consider for both parents and new drivers.

Parents and guardians, you’re probably thinking about all the risks your teen driver will be up against once they get behind the wheel. And teens, it’s okay to be anxious and excited about the new possibilities of the open road.

Here are a couple driving statistics you should have on your radar:

  • Seat belts are very important for driver safety. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “seat belts reduce serious crash-related injuries and deaths by about half.” Most modern vehicles will sound an alarm if you aren’t buckled up to remind you to do so. Many states require you to wear your seat belt. Get in the habit of wearing your seatbelt anytime you’re in a vehicle because it’s usually the law and wearing it could save your life.
  • Studies show Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Systems reduce injury crashes by around 19% and fatal crashes by about 21% for 16-year-olds. GDL Systems are a collaborative effort between parents and teens to give new teen drivers more driving supervision and limit high-risk conditions. These systems can help teens increase their driving skills and confidence behind the wheel.

To jumpstart your new driver journey, here are some teen driving safety tips and advice for first time drivers.

Start a conversation between parents or guardians and your teenage driver

You are about to undergo a significant change in your household. Teenage driver(s) are gaining new trust, responsibility and skills. Parents or guardians are learning to get comfortable with the uncomfortable feelings of your maturing teen. There’s a lot to talk about to make the transition easier on everyone involved.

Teens: Here are a few open-ended questions you can use to start talking about first-time driving experiences:

  • When will you allow me to try to get my permit?
  • What car will I be allowed to practice driving in?
  • Who will help me learn to drive?

Parents: Here are some questions you can ask your teenage driver:

  • What do you know about the driver’s education steps in our state?
  • Are you ready to take on the tasks of becoming a responsible driver?
  • Do you have any questions about driving that I (or we) can answer?

It’s okay to feel nervous and excited! Creating an open dialogue will help you each set expectations and reach your safe driving goals successfully.

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Create a parent-teen driving contract

Now that you’ve had some discussions about the teenager in your household learning to drive, it’s time to consider creating a parent-teen driving contract. Essentially, this is a set of parent rules for teenage drivers that is an exercise for you both to create together. Use this contract to set rules and expectations. Teens, this is a great opportunity for you to speak up for the kind of support you need while you learn to drive.

Your parent-teen driving contract may include:

  • Outlining the vehicle(s) that can be used for practicing driving with a permit.
  • Noting who is responsible for filling up or charging the vehicle.
  • Rules and expectations for car maintenance.
  • Expectations for navigating stressful situations.
  • Guidelines and expectations once your teen earns their driver’s license.

Parents: Add your first-time driver to your auto insurance policy

It is required by law to obtain insurance for first-time drivers or teens before they can get behind the wheel. Talk to your agent about your options and potential discounts you or your teen may qualify for.

Ask your Grange independent agent how your teen can qualify for a good student discount for submitting a qualifying report card.

Teens: Get your learner’s permit or temporary permit

This is the first tangible step toward getting your driver’s license. To get your permit, most states will require you to take a vision test, take a written test and provide proof of identity. However, each state has different requirements. Learn how to get your learner’s permit in your state.

Teens: Enroll in teen driving courses

After obtaining your permit, taking teen driving lessons is the next step toward earning your driver’s license. You might hear friends and peers refer to this as “Driver’s Ed” or “Driver’s Education.” The lessons typically involve several classes to learn road signs, road rules and driving etiquette. After several weeks of classes, students move on to in-car driving lessons with a trained instructor.

Pro tip for first-time drivers: You’ll want to enroll in teen driving courses as soon as you get your permit, as many areas experience high demand for these classes. Act early to secure a spot in a driver’s education course before your permit expires.

Use these teen driving tips to get out on the road

With your permit in tow and a parent or guardian in the passenger seat of your vehicle beside you, it’s time to start driving.

Let’s dive into some driving tips for beginners. Teens, check out the following infographic and add these items to your pre-driving checklist.

Grange teen driver infographic

Here’s an easy way to determine potential distractions: If the task takes your hands off the steering wheel or your eyes off the road, it’s a distraction. As a new driver, try to make adjustments to cabin temperature and other similar tasks while you are at a complete stop.

Follow these safe driving guidelines while the vehicle is in motion:

  • Leave plenty of space between your vehicle and the one in front of you.
  • Maintain the speed limit and be aware of speed limit changes along your route.
  • Practice driving in an area you are familiar with and expand your driving routes with more experience.

Continue reading safe driving resources

Teens and parents, you can work together to stay on top of safe driving practices. Parents, quiz your teens on road rules periodically to help sharpen their skills. You may even benefit from a refresher on the rules of the road.

Teens, continue to read safe driving guides, pamphlets from your driver’s education courses and other resources to help you familiarize yourself with road signs and driving etiquette. The better you know the rules of the road, the more confident you can be behind the wheel.

Contact a Grange independent agent

For more information about adding a new teenage driver to your auto insurance policy, talk to a Grange agent. Our experienced team will help you explore coverage options and discounts you may qualify for.

Coverages described herein may not be available in all states. Please contact one of our local independent agents for complete details on coverages and discounts. If the policy coverage descriptions herein conflict with the language in the policy, the language in the policy applies. The material provided above is for informational, educational and/or suggestion purposes only, and does not imply coverage. WE RESERVE THE RIGHT TO REFUSE TO QUOTE ANY INDIVIDUAL PREMIUM RATE FOR THE INSURANCE HEREIN ADVERTISED. Applicable policies may be underwritten by Grange Insurance Company, Trustgard Insurance Company, Grange Indemnity Insurance Company, Grange Insurance Company of Michigan* and Grange Property & Casualty Insurance Company*, Integrity Insurance Company*, Integrity Property & Casualty Insurance Company*, Integrity Select Insurance Company*. *Not licensed in Pennsylvania

Insurance Information Institute (III)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
CDC (Graduated Driver Licensing Systems)

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