Learning how to drive is a huge moment during adolescence, and it’s also an enormous responsibility. Not every teenager is ready to drive right at 15 or 16, and that’s okay. Those who do take the wheel and learn how to drive have a lot of things to think about once they get their license.
This can range from the expenses of insurance and gasoline, to whether you are driving a car that makes it easy to adjust to the road. Parents can also help out during this time by researching when to add a teen driver to insurance policies and paying for a quality driving school enrollment.
Let’s discuss all of the things that make it easier for new drivers to stay safe and save money when they start driving.
#1 – Get a Safe Car
Vulnerable drivers like teens and seniors need cars that are simple, yet effective on the road. This means buying something that is compact and handles well. Buying a small car usually helps with these things. Big trucks and SUVs are hard to drive when you are inexperienced.
As far as safety goes, it’s important to buy teens a car that has lane assist and backup cameras. These added safety features and new technology aids drivers of all ages, but young drivers sometimes need that little something extra to keep them safe.
It’s also been proven that young drivers get distracted by having passengers in the vehicle. If you force young drivers to ride around in a smaller vehicle with minimum room for other people, there’s less of a chance they will get in an accident. Buying a big SUV for a new driver means they will sometimes bring too many friends along with them.
Brands that have high safety standards include Subaru and Honda. The Subaru Legacy is one of the smaller vehicles the company makes and it routinely ranks highly in safety ratings around the world. Getting a safe car also decreases the insurance rates you have to pay for your teen driver.
You could also consider buying your teen an electric car or a hybrid. These are expensive vehicles, but they save you a ton of money on gasoline in the long run. Tesla is the most popular electric car on the market right now.
#2 – Go to Driving School
One of the first steps in becoming a better driver, whether you are new or experienced, is to go to driving school. This is an expensive necessity, but one that will help with teaching the basics of the road. Driving school teaches you how to do more than just turn a steering wheel and look out for pedestrians, though.
Instructors teach things like parallel parking, getting around a parking lot, and handling road rage. The last thing on that list is an especially important thing to get under control at a young age. Angry driving leads to accidents and violence.
Many people feel more powerful when they are in a car and they do things they normally wouldn’t. It’s vital for teen drivers to ignore the stupid things others do on the road and keep their cool.
Some public schools still teach driver’s education in the classroom, and it’s important for parents to learn whether their child’s school does. If they don’t, look for the best deals on private classes in your area.
Parents can still give their children tips and driving lessons, but they should be in conjunction with professional instruction. Practicing the things you learn in driving school at home is the best way to improve your skills and get better at things that young drivers struggle with.
#3 – Get Good Grades
This tip is completely financially motivated. Insurance for new drivers is very expensive, and parents are usually the ones who have to figure out how to fit their new driver onto their insurance for an affordable price. This is difficult as insurance companies charge high premiums for inexperienced drivers so they can offset the risk of potential accidents.
The main way that young drivers can get insurance discounts (besides keeping a clean driving record) is to get excellent grades in school. Many insurance companies view good students as being responsible and more likely to take precautions behind the wheel.
Whether this is fair to bad students is up for debate, but all parents should show their child’s good grades to their insurance agent. A GPA of over 3.5 is usually what it takes to save a good chunk of money on a teenager’s auto insurance. Some insurance companies will give you up to 15% off a teen’s policy.
#4 – Get Lots of Rest
Young drivers are some of the busiest people on the planet. High school students have to think about doing well in school, participating in clubs and extracurricular activities, and playing sports after school every day.
Sleep can be hard to come by at this age. It’s very unfortunate because driving requires the utmost attention, and getting proper rest helps this happen. Both teens and parents need to make sure that a proper sleep schedule is created before young drivers hit the road each morning.
If you feel tired while you are driving, always pull over and try to get yourself more alert. Turn on some cold air or blast a little bit of music. Or better yet, just don’t go on the road when you know you are feeling exhausted.
#5 – Wait on Insurance Until After Your License Is Granted
You actually don’t need to get auto insurance until you have your driver’s license fully granted to you. Young drivers who have their learner’s permit don’t need insurance yet, as they can usually use their parents’ policy until they have finished learning how to drive. This could save you money for a few extra months, and every little bit counts.
Learning how to drive requires young people to be responsible and it makes them think about how to stay safe and avoid danger. There are a lot of factors that help make this learning process easier, from the car being driven to the insurance policies that young people get after they receive their license.
As long as everyone around the teen driver is helpful, and the teen driver wants to become the best driver they can be, the process should go smoothly.
Shawn Laib writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, QuoteInspector.com. He wants to help young drivers and their families stay safe on the road.