It can be stressful when your teen starts to drive. You want them to stay safe, but statistics show they’re also the most vulnerable. However, you can do many things to help them become a better driver.
Understand State Laws
Rhode Island uses a multi-stage licensing process and in the earlier stages your young driver can’t drive whenever and with whoever they want. They’re meant to help develop skills and improve their judgment gradually.
Familiarize yourself with the restrictions placed on your teen’s license so you can establish ground rules. For instance, a licensed driver over 21 years of age who’s had their license for at least 5 years must accompany a teen with a limited instruction permit.
Discuss Drug & Alcohol Use
It is illegal and extremely dangerous to drink or consume drugs and then drive. Teen drivers can face fines, community service, imprisonment, license suspension, and a DUI Education Course. Of course, it can also impact insurance premiums.
Should your teen find they need of a ride, let them know that you’re always available, no matter the time.
Don’t Rely Solely on Driver’s Ed
Lessons learned through driver’s education are worthwhile, but they are only part of the equation. The more supervised driving time your teen has the more likely they are to make better decisions while driving.
Set aside time for driving sessions with your teen and set a good example. Don’t tailgate, drive aggressively, or rage while driving.
Choose quieter times of the day and less busy roads for your initial lessons. Avoid driving lessons during times of decreased visibility such as when it is raining or at dusk.
Teach Them to Keep Space
Keeping space between vehicles is essential for safety. It gives your teen time to react and teaches them to look beyond what lies directly before them. This is especially important when driving at higher speeds.
Defensive driving teaches leaving four to six seconds-worth of space between their car and the vehicle in front on the highway. When stopped, your teen should be able to see the bottom of the tires of the vehicle in front.
Most teens can’t live without their cellphones, but they’re illegal for teens to use in Rhode Island vehicles. Any wireless communication device, including all handheld and hands-free cell phones and text messaging devices are strictly prohibited for those less than 18 years of age.
Other distractions such as other teenagers in the car, grooming while driving, and listening to loud music can also increase the risk of accident. A distracted driving charge can lead to fines, license suspension, and higher insurance premiums.
The sooner your teenager gets into the habit of using a seat belt, the better. U.S. Department of Transportation statistics found teens use seatbelts less than other age groups, even though they’re proven to cut critical injuries and deaths by about half.
Ensure you have enough auto insurance for your new driver. An independent insurance agency like ours can find the best possible coverage at the most reasonable rates to protect you and your teen well.