New Teen Driver: What parents should know
As a parent, you’re probably wondering what to do now that your teen is about to drive for the first time. Back when you were 16 and a first-time driver, after all, it was your parents that took care of everything – all you had to do was learn to “keep it between the lines.”
As a parent, there are several things you can do today to prepare your child for the responsibility of driving. Such as:
- Add your teen to your car insurance
Now that your teen is going to be driving your car, they need to be added to your car insurance so you’re covered in case they’re in an accident. As soon as they get their learner’s permit, call your car insurance agent and have them added to your policy.
Not excited about paying more for car insurance because of the new driver in your home? Ask your car insurance company about a good student discount if your child has a B average or above.
- Sign your teen up for defensive driving classes
Yes, you can teach your child to drive, but signing your child up for defensive driving classes gives them a strong foundation from which to build on as they practice driving with you.
You likely learned all you know about driving from years of experience, but a defensive driving course can help your child learn so many of those lessons the easy way – instead of the hard way. Plus, many car insurance companies will give a discount on any driver who has completed an accredited defensive driving course.
- Take a “Teaching My Teen To Drive” course yourself
Going from “doing” to “teaching” isn’t as easy as it sounds. There are several online courses geared toward parents who are teaching their children to drive. Taking one of these courses will help you be better prepared to teach your child not only how to drive, but what to do in emergencies, the laws of the road that you may have forgotten (how many years has it been since you took your drivers test?), and help you keep calm in what can be a white-knuckle experience for many parents.
- Practice, practice, practice
Learner’s permits in South Carolina must be held for 180 days before the driver can obtain their driver’s license. In North Carolina, it’s one year. Neither is a great amount of time to teach a new driver all they need to stay safe on the road. You’ve got to make the most of the time you’ve got!
That means giving your teen all the possible hours available on the road. Make your child the new driver every time you run errands, head to church, or travel around town. Remember, your child will need experience driving in all sorts of conditions in order to be a good driver, including heavy traffic, rain, interstate driving, parking, parallel parking, and more. Make the effort to give your child as many driving experiences as possible while you’re there to guide them. Practice makes perfect!
- Breathe – You got this!
It’s nerve-wracking, giving your child the car keys for the first time. But with your guidance and support, the task of teaching your teen to drive will give them the freedom to grow independently – and safely – in the world. Remember to stay calm, be supportive, and practice patience. The memories you make teaching your child to drive will last a lifetime!
Got questions about insuring your teen driver?
Edwards Insurance Agency in Taylors, S.C., has helped generations of new drivers get on the road safely. Give us a call today!