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How To Help Both You & Your Teen Driver

Choose any topic and scroll down the page for more information:

  • Creating Guidelines for Your Teen Driver
  • Insuring a New Driver
  • Tips for Driving with Your Teen
  • Set a Good Example
  • Safe Driving Contract

  Creating Guidelines for Your Teen Driver:

Many teens pass their driving test around their sixteenth birthday. Although it's the legal age to receive a driver's license in many states, it is not a magic number which means teens are experienced behind the wheel. Only you can decide when your teen is ready to drive without adult supervision.

After they have a license, teens are still gaining experience as new drivers. While they're learning, you can help keep them safe by setting rules about when, where, how and with whom they may drive.
  • Put a limit on the number of passengers in the car.

    Teens are likely to have more trouble focusing on the road with laughter, music, food and other distractions, all of which increase with the number of passengers.  
  • Establish and enforce a house curfew.

    Check with your local police department to see if your town has a curfew for minors. If not, set your own.  
  • Insist that your teen and his or her passengers always use safety belts.

    Teens tend to use their safety belts less often than other drivers. Remind teens that the presence of air bags does not mean they can ignore safety belts. These two safety devices are meant to work together to reduce injuries and fatalities.  
  • Limit or supervise your teen's driving during times of high risk.

    The highest number of driving crashes occur on Friday and Saturday night and early Saturday and Sunday morning.
  • Set driving area limits.

    If your teen wants to travel outside your geographic area, require that he or she request special permission.  
  • Prohibit driving or riding with others under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

    Driving while under the influence of drugs and alcohol are life threatening issues as well as being  illegal. In addition to the possibility of legal punishment, tell your teen you will revoke driving privileges for a given amount of time if found to be driving or riding with others under the influence. We recommend discussing and signing a Safe Driving Contract  with your teen as a way to create a mutual understanding between both you and them.
Insuring a New Driver:
When your new driver is named on an existing auto insurance policy or obtains his or her own insurance, the company providing the coverage is assuming an additional risk. In order to cover that new risk, there is an additional cost for insuring the young driver.

To determine the appropriate cost of providing coverage to each insured, insurance industry professionals use something called rating factors. Because inexperienced drivers drive differently than experienced drivers, being new to the road is a rating factor. Examples of other rating factors include:
  • Gender
  • Make/Model/Year of car
  • Miles driven
  • Driving record (tickets and accidents)
  • Driving experience
Don't worry - teens will naturally gain the confidence and judgment they need as drivers as they gain experience over time. Until they reach that level, though, there are things you and your teen can do to help maintain their auto insurance rates.

Help keep auto insurance rates as low as possible:
  • Keep a clean driving record.

  • Drive safe cars that are affordable to insure.

  • Consider raising deductible limits.

  • If appropriate to your situation , drop coverages such as collision coverage for older cars with relatively low cash values.

Parents:  Tips for Driving with Your Teen:

Supervised practice over an extended period of time makes teens better, safer drivers. That's why it's important for you to spend time in the car with your teen behind the wheel. Give your teen opportunities to practice what he or she may have learned in Driver Education, and encourage him or her to develop safe habits and skills. Patient practice, as well as following the same rules when you're behind the wheel, will help your teen learn the do's and don'ts of the road. Rule #1 for parents:  set a good example .


While your teen is driving:

  • Give simple and clear directions, such as "brake," "slow," and "cover" (lightly cover the brake with your foot, in preparation to stop).

  • Use a calm tone of voice.

  • Watch your teen's arms - if they are not relaxed, the situation may be too hard for your teen to handle, or he or she may be experiencing levels of anxiety or fatigue.

I f your teen does something incorrectly:

  • Ask him or her to safely move the car off the road and then discuss the mistake calmly.

  • Plan routes that allow your teen to practice different skills. Driving to and from the same grocery store every week will not adequately prepare your teen to be a skilled, licensed driver.

  • Take your teen out for driving practice under as many different conditions as possible. Safe drivers are experienced in responding to changing weather, visibility, traffic volume and speed.

  • Encourage your teen to talk aloud about what he or she sees and plans to do while driving. This makes it much easier for you to know if your teen is observing and thinking ahead like a good driver.

After the practice session:

  • Evaluate the session together. Give your teen a chance to point out his or her mistakes before you do.

  • Praise your teen for what he or she did correctly and also mention how your teen can improve.

  • Record your session in a self imposed Driving Log.

Parents:  Set a Good Example:

Set a good example when you drive.
Your teen is much more likely to be a calm and courteous driver, use a safety belt, and obey the speed limit, if you do it first.

Provide a safe motor vehicle for practice sessions.
If your car needs a tune-up, take your teen along for a lesson in car maintenance. Now is the time to talk about the costs of maintaining and insuring a car, and if your teen needs to contribute.

Take your teen to get a license only when YOU feel the time is right.
You must take responsibility for making this decision - - your teen's life depends on it.

Share your insurance costs.
Research shows that teens who pay for a portion of the maintenance and insurance of the family car as they learn how to drive are more likely to be safe drivers.

Safe Driving Contract
Teen Driver:
I promise not to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, nor will I get in a car where the driver has had alcohol to drink or has used drugs. If I am ever in a situation where I need a ride home for my safety, I will call a cab, ask a designated driver to drive me, or call you or another family member to come and get me.

Signature of Teen Driver

I promise to pick you up if you ever call me for a ride. If I do not have a car, I will pay for a cab to bring you home. I further promise not to start a conversation about the incident at that time. I also agree to use safe driving practices, not to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol myself, and find an alternate means home if I am ever in a situation where the driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.


Signature of Parent(s)/Guardian(s)


You can print a copy  of our Safe Driving Contract using Adobe Acrobat Reader.





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