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If you have a 16-year-old about to hit the road, there isn't much you can do about it, so take a deep breath, follow our five guidelines, and know that we're here to help.
I learned it from watching you, Dad!
Teenagers have finely-tuned hypocrisy meters, so the first step is to model the driving behaviors you'd like from them well before they get a license.
It's an old cliche that kids think they're invincible, but now there's science to back it up. You might endure some pretty intense eye-rolling, but it's important that you drive home just how real the dangers are. Take the time to sit down with your kids and drive home the real-life consequences of being careless on the roads. Use examples, not adages. Somewhere deep, deep down, they'll hear you, and it could make all the difference.
Practice makes (almost) perfect
Spend as much time teaching your teen as you can. It might be a bit unpleasant, but the more comfortable your kid feels behind the wheel, the safer he'll be. Start with empty parking lots before graduating to backroads and sidestreets, gradually building up as you become more confident in his abilities.
Nothin' but blue skies…
The accident rate for teenagers is three times higher after 9:00 p.m. Set a rule – no driving solo at night for the first three to six months.
Drunk driving is one of the major reasons night driving is so dangerous for kids, so make it clear to your child that she can call you for a ride at any hour without fear of punishment. You can worry about consequences later. For now, you want to ensure her safety.
Teens aged 15-17 are eight times more likely to have a fatal crash when they have friends in the car. Even smart kids do dumb things, so don’t allow your child to carry passengers until you are absolutely positive that he's ready. He'll hate it, but he'll live.
Now that we have safety down, let's talk insurance. You have two options once your kid hits the road: get her an individual policy or add her to yours. Most companies offer discounts for good students and insuring multiple cars, but either way you're likely to encounter some sticker shock. Adding her to your existing policy will probably be more cost-effective, but it's worth comparing the options with your insurance company. Or course if that doesn't sound like a fun weekend activity, one of our Goji agents would be happy to do the homework for you. Good luck!
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