Friday, November 7, 2014

What parents should know before their teen obtains a driver's license - written by Daniel Harper

I remember the day I was legally able to receive the rights to my driver's license at the DMV.  It was a landmark that allowed some freedom, but also opened brand new doors to a lot of responsibility for myself and parents.

I grew up in an insurance household with an experienced Allstate agent as a father. As a teen I can remember him being nervous about me driving in the beginning without any supervision. Now as an adult and insurance agent myself, I can relate to him and understand why it was such a “big deal” at the time.

Not only was I taking responsibility for myself and the vehicle every time I ventured down the road, but at the same time I was sharing risk with my mother & father. If I was to cause an accident or have any type of mishap the blame did not only fall on my shoulders. The burden of responsibility was also carried by my folks because I was driving their vehicle. If someone was to be injured it could have put their assets, and hard earned livelihood at stake without proper coverage.

It’s a pretty known fact that driving can be dangerous for teens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that thousands of teenagers are injured each year in the U.S due to car accidents. The risk is much higher during the first few months of obtaining a driver's license.

Distractions, inexperience, impaired driving, and speeding are some of the major reasons for accidents among teenagers. Often new drivers are so focused on driving correctly, that they sometimes are not ready to react to mistakes that other drivers might make  while driving. It’s very important to spend time supervising their driving experience when starting out.

Studies show that teenage drivers generally show dramatic improvement within their first 1,000 miles or first year of driving, and they continue improving for the next 4,000 miles after that.

Trust your gut when gauging if your new driver is ready. If you feel that they need more practice, then don’t let them drive alone (even if they are fully licensed). You can practice in areas with reduced amounts of traffic, and as they improve you can introduce them to difference conditions and roadways, as well as nighttime driving. They are the most at-risk when they are driving solo in their first 6 months of driving.

It’s a good idea to establish some general rules and guidelines to follow with your new driver. Ideas could include minimizing distractions, and avoiding risky conditions. Ask your insurance company if they have a parent-teen agreement, or a system like Allstate’s Star-Driver program.
Setting up rules and consequences can aid in reinforcing the agreement you have with your teen.

It’s easy to forget that from the time they first buckle up in the backseat, they are watching you and how you drive. Set a good example by demonstrating safe driving habits well ahead of time. Be sure to not show signs of road rage, or texting while driving. It will save you from having to engage in the “Do as I say, not as I do” conversation later down the road regarding driving habits. Brushing up on the state traffic laws should help you both become better drivers.

Look forward as you consider preparation for unfortunate scenarios, make sure the car is in good driving condition, and make sure the essential gear is on hand in case of an emergency. Items like a flashlight, first aid kit, windshield scraper, snacks, and blankets are important. You can find a great checklist here. It never hurts to prepare your driver for a situation like a flat tire, or jumpstart also.

When adding your newest driver to your insurance policy, it’s a great idea to call your local agent and discuss the coverage you currently have to make sure that you have to proper coverage in place to protect your vehicle and family.

If you would like more information or tips regarding the ins & outs of teenage driving, feel free to gives us a call at our local Allstate office here in Charlottesville, Virginia. Or visit our website at .

You can also reach us by email at

Daniel Harper
Harper's Insurance Allstate

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Sources from:
Ready Wisconsin

Allstate Blog

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention