Your teen just got their driver’s license. You’re happy. You’re proud. You’re terrified. A driver’s license is a huge deal in a teenager’s life. The key to a car is like a key to adulthood and freedom. It can also be a source of new dangers. So what do you do?
In addition to updating your auto insurance policy, consider a Personal Umbrella policy, which protects your assets in the event of a significant personal liability claim beyond the limits of standard homeowners and automobile coverage. An Umbrella insurance policy would cover your increased exposure if your child is driving one of your cars. For about the cost of a plate lunch meal each month, you could get an additional $1,000,000 of liability coverage. It’s inexpensive coverage to protect your family if the unthinkable happens.
Encourage Safe Driving
In addition to having the proper insurance in place, take these steps to help your teen become a better, safer driver:
- Understand what it means to be a provisional driver. Under Hawaii’s Graduated Licensing Program, new teen drivers are granted a provisional license. This means that they face extra restrictions. Notably, they cannot drive with more than one minor who isn’t a family member in the car unless supervised by a licensed parent or guardian. They also can’t drive after 11 p.m. unless supervised by a licensed parent or guardian or driving for certain approved purposes. Make sure your teen driver understands and agrees to follow these rules.
- Discuss distracted driving. Texting while driving is illegal in Hawaii, and for good reason. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accidents involving distracted driving kill more than eight people every day in the United States. Distracted driving refers to anything that takes the driver’s mind off driving, hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. Texting is one of the deadliest forms of distracted driving. According to a study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, drivers who are texting take their eyes off the road for an average of 23 seconds, and their risk of a crash or near-crash doubles.
- Discuss driving under the influence. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that more than 10,000 people died in crashes involving alcohol in 2012. This problem affects youth, too. According to the CDC, 10 percent of teenagers in high school admit to drinking and driving, which increases the risk of a crash by 17 times.
- Be a good role model. It may seem like your teen ignores everything you say and do, but that’s not actually the case. You are a powerful role model in your child’s life. Be a good one. Don’t drink and drive, don’t text while driving, wear your seatbelt and follow the rules of the road. Your example will mean more than your words.
- Make it official. The CDC provides a Parent Teen Driver Agreement that you can download, fill out and sign. It includes promises for the teen to make. It also lets you set restrictions and penalties.