Ugh…Teenage Drivers. Am I right?!
We’ve all seen it. You’re driving down the road or sitting in traffic, and you look over to see a young person behind the wheel, checking their social media accounts, responding to a text, taking a selfie, having a one-man dance party, trying to find their “jam” on whatever music app they are using at the moment – you get the picture. It’s a dangerous habit, and more and more young people who are addicted to their hand held technologies are reaching driving age every day. So, what can we do to make sure these young drivers really know the dangers and the potentially life altering effects these bad habits can lead to while driving? One place to start is insurance. Yes, insurance.
I’m willing to bet if you ask any teen driver this question, “What is car insurance?”, you’ll get an answer similar to, “It helps you when you get into a car wreck”. Yup. That’s pretty much the extent of knowledge that most teen drivers have on insurance. They know it is something they must have and it’s there if they get in a wreck. I’m also willing to bet that in the event of an accident, your young driver doesn’t know what to do. Do they call the police? Do they call the insurance company? No. They immediately dial their parents, often crying and freaking out, knowing the parents will know what to do next. So, why is it that we aren’t teaching our young ones about insurance, what it is there for, what to do in the event of an accident, and the serious consequences of distracted driving? Hint: the consequences are way more than just a wrecked car.
Let’s simply start with talking to your teenager. Everyone’s favorite thing to do, right?! If you can get past the eyerolls, and the “yeah, I know” parts of the conversation, there is a lot you can instill in your little driver. Here is a brief list of things to try and cover:
- Why their insurance is so expensive: Teen drivers are proven to be inexperienced and reckless drivers, thus more expensive to insure. Go over all the ways mentioned above that teens get distracted while driving and come up with ways to discourage those behaviors in the car. One tip is to teach your teen to put their phone in the glove box every time they get in the car, so it’s not easily accessible.
- What does their insurance cover: What the deductibles mean in the instance they are found at fault in the accident, and for instances when they are not to blame. Do they have free roadside assistance or towing? Windshield replacement? Make sure they know what options they have to help them feel safe should an accident occur.
- What to do in the event of an accident: Call the police first. Have insurance information handy and ready to give to the police. When to call the insurance company. Discuss all these things. Quiz your teen on scenarios and what they should do in the event of an accident. Also talk to them about how each and every occurrence they have in their vehicle can lead to potential rate changes and charges to their insurance, thus continuously driving up the monthly costs.
- What can happen to you and your family if someone is severely injured, or even killed in an accident: Georgia averages about 215 fatal crashes a year involving drivers under the age of 21 according to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Do they know you can be sued, lose your house and cars, have your wages garnished? Do you have an umbrella policy in place? If so, talk about what that means to you and your family as your new driver starts to hit the roads. If you don’t have an umbrella policy in place, stop reading right now and give us a call! You don’t have to be a millionaire in order to be sued like one.
Everything we’ve mentioned above will not only make your teen a safer driver, but also a smarter one. Imparting some of this knowledge on them allows them to take another step into adulting and making conscious decisions on how to be a responsible driver when they get behind the wheel of their vehicle.
To learn more, or to have our agency come to your school or neighborhood event to talk to your young drivers, give us a call at 770-424-6762.