As a parent, you play a significant role in teaching your teen about driving safety. It is a skill that is learned through practice and frequent conversations. Talking with your teen is one way you can help convey your expectations and encourage smart decision-making. Not only will this help your teen safe, but it may also help with the cost of car insurance for teens as well.
The Centers for Disease Control also recommends supplementing your conversations with a parent-driver agreement that helps you and your teen get on the same page regarding driver safety. An agreement should include your rules, as well as the consequences for not following them. If you aren’t sure exactly what types of rules to include in your agreement, consider the following as a guideline.
1. Curfew and Check-In
Teens should have a curfew – especially when they are driving. Minnesota graduated drivers license laws prevent driving after midnight during the first six months after licensure except in certain circumstances. However, parents may consider setting a permanent curfew, since 2 in 5 fatal teen collisions occur after 9 p.m.
2. Passenger Restrictions
Passengers are a major distraction for new teen drivers. Just one passenger under the age of 21 can increase the risk of an accident by nearly half. Add another teen, and the risk doubles. After three or more young passengers, the risk of a crash is four times that it would have been if a teen driver were alone. Set a limit on who – if anyone – can ride with your teen other than siblings. During the first six months of being licensed, Minnesota restricts drivers to having no more than one passenger under 20 who is not a sibling.
3. Dangerous Driving
Let your teen know what to do when conditions are not appropriate for driving. Whether that means waiting for inclement weather to pass or calling for a ride if your teen is feeling fatigued, encourage smart decisions – not ‘toughing it out.’ Also, create drunk driving rules and consequences. Let your teen know that drinking and driving will always result in loss of license, but calling for a ride does not.
We always buckle up for safety, and also because it’s the law. That doesn’t stop millions of teenagers from riding without seatbelts every year. Teens have the lowest rates of seatbelt use compared to other age groups. Unfortunately, many of them lose their lives. In 2013, more than half of teens killed in car accidents were not wearing a safety belt at the time of the collision.
5. Cell Phone and Distractions
By the time they get their license, all teenagers should know it is illegal to create, read, or send a text message or email, or to surf the Internet while driving a vehicle in Minnesota. It is also illegal for teens under age 18 to use a phone – including hands-free devices – for any purposes other than dialing 9-1-1. Reiterate these rules to your teen driver and encourage him or her to turn the cell phone off when driving. Cell phones can distract drivers in ways they don’t realize and continue to cause a distraction even after they are put down.
6. Financial Expectations
What is your teen financially responsible for? Will you be splitting the responsibilities or will she be footing the entire bill? From fuel and oil changes to repairs and car insurance for teens, the costs can add up. Work out the financial details before your teen rolls out of your driveway for the first time.