A Rhode Island drivers permit can be issued to young Rhode Island residents who complete a 33 hour driver education course. However, drivers education teaches basic skills and a new driver’s first couple of years out on the road are their most dangerous.
Luckily, there are also many things you can do to help your new driver develop the mindset and behaviors needed to stay safe. Here are a few of the most noteworthy.
Discuss Distracted Driving
Rhode Island law prohibits all handheld and hands-free cellphones and text messaging devices for drivers under the age of 18. Nonetheless, a AAA survey found 70% of teenage drivers either talk on their phone or read text messages while driving.
Approximately 60% of teen car crashes are caused by distracted driving. While electronic devices are the primary distractor, eating and drinking, chatting with passengers, applying makeup, and listening to loud music also cause drivers to take their eyes off the road.
Have early conversations regarding the dangers of distractions. Create a parent-teen driving agreement and include distractive driving. Lead by example and show your teen how to drive safely.
Provide Ample Driving Experience
Under the Graduated Driver Licensing program, young drivers can get a Provisional License after 6 months and 50 hours of supervised driving, including 10 hours at night. Nonetheless, some drivers will need more time.
Discuss what you’ll be doing beforehand so your young driver understands the skills they’ll practice. Use an even tone of voice and simple directions while you deliver instructions. Encourage your teen to speak aloud and ask questions as they progress during their trip.
Your teen will make mistakes, but don’t get angry. Pull over and talk about the issue and how they could handle it differently next time. Don’t forget to praise them when they do well.
Ensure that your young driver learns to drive in diverse conditions and on all types of roads. Drive through the city and on the highway when it’s sunny, rainy, or snowing. Drive on quiet streets and later in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The more challenges they learn to overcome, the better prepared they’ll be when driving solo. Don’t authorize them to progress to the next level unless you feel they’re ready.
Choose a Safe Vehicle
If you intend to buy a vehicle for your teenager, choose the make and model carefully. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) provides a continually updated list of their recommendations and their approximate cost. Always check for recalls before you buy.
Teach Basic Car Maintenance
Your young driver needs to understand basic car maintenance. They should know how to change a tire and how to check fluid levels, the battery, and tire pressure. You may want to consider enrolling them in a roadside assistance program or finding out if it’s a service offered by your insurance company.
Young drivers are considered risky due to their inexperience and statistics. As a result, Rhode Island auto insurance for a new driver is pricey.
Parents should discuss auto insurance with their agent before their child gets behind the wheel and especially when they’re considering buying them a vehicle. Insurance prices can vary greatly between makes and models. Your agent may also be able to bundle policies or access student discounts for lower rates.