Teen DriverIt’s funny how one day can cause so many different emotions depending on your point-of-view.   

If you’re a teenager, it’s the most wonderful day of all, a day you’ve looked forward to perhaps more than any other of your accumulated 5,840 days of existence on earth.

If you’re a mom, you’re frightened out of your mind. 

If you’re an insurance-paying parent or guardian, you’re probably just a little bit grumpy because it’s one of the most expensive days of all. 

The title of this blog entry—a nod to John Hughes’ 1984 coming-of-age film—likely gave away the subject matter. Yes, I’m talking about a kid’s 16th birthday and the commensurate opportunity (in most states) to obtain his or her driver’s license.  

This comes to my mind today because my own family will experience these varying emotions soon when my oldest child celebrates his 16th.

With this impending cataclysmic event, I began to think about ways to reel everyone in, myself included, as the day arrives when my son is permitted to operate a motor vehicle on his own on a public highway.  Here then are some tips for both progeny and parents as you prepare for this life change.     

For the new driver: 

  • Ditch the phone. Talking or texting while driving is a non-starter. And it’s illegal.*
  • Buckle up. 
  • Slow down! Speed kills. 
  • Know the rules of the road. An educated driver is a safer driver.

 For the parents:

  • Learn to let go. Your own mom and dad were probably frightened out of their minds too when you first took the wheel.  It’s a part of growing up, so celebrate this next stage in your child’s life. 
  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says that parents are the key to safe teen drivers.  Set rules for your new teen driver and then enforce them with a Teen Driving Agreement.  
  • Call your independent insurance agent!  Insuring your new teen driver doesn’t have to break the bank. Discounts are often available for teen drivers based on the driving training they’ve received or their scholastic achievement.  Your agent will help you determine what’s right for your policy.

When the day arrives for you and your family, don’t let emotions rule the day.  Have you recently had a teen driver hit the road?  Let me know how you, and your teen, handled it!   

 *Nearly all states have a ban against texting while operating a motor vehicle, regardless of the driver’s age.  In many states, new drivers aren’t even permitted to talk on the phone while driving.

2 responses to “Sixteen Candles and a Car”

  1. I’m an independent agent myself who has a daughter that turned 16 this past May. She has been preached at and I have tried to find teachable moments such as a news reports involving young drivers to show her examples of how fast accidents can happen. One of our agreements is she leaves her phone in her purse in the backseat. She says this helps her not be tempted to look at it while she is driving. I also made her drive ALOT while she had her permit. If it was raining, snowing, foggy I made her drive so she could get the experience under different weather conditions. She also clocked many hours on the interstate on family vacations to get used to following road signs and the rules of the road. Parents are the BEST teachers, take time to ride with your new driver. It’s like everything else, the more they practice the better and safer they are!

  2. Good comment Michelle. I am thinking about having a Teen Driver Agreement signed when my son gets his license. The one I’m thinking about using is at
    http://www.cdc.gov/Motorvehiclesafety/pdf/Driving_Contract-a.pdf .

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