How to help keep your teen safe on the road
Young woman driving
So, your 16-year-old is itching to get licenced and get behind the wheel. As new drivers, there is a lot to remember when first learning the rules of the road. We wanted to bring awareness to some safety tips that can help your new teen driver steer clear of any accidents. We’ve compiled a few of our favourite tips, tricks and apps that will help you make sure your teen driver is safe on the road.

General safety tips

  • 1. Allow them to get familiar with the car. Let them take short drives – or practice in an empty parking lot – so they can get to know how the car drives. They’ll learn how to handle certain situations, like getting a feel for the size and turn radius of the car – this will help with parking, and knowing how far is needed to pull out and turn. Or if they’ll be driving a newer car that has sensitive brakes, they can practice braking more gently when coming to an abrupt stop.
  • 2. Teach your teen how to drive defensively. A good habit to get them into is becoming a defensive driver, which basically means going beyond just following traffic signs and rules of the road. It’s about anticipating dangerous situations around them. A good driving tip is to get them to practice scanning the road, and watching a few cars ahead, instead of only focusing on the car in front of them. Slowly introducing them to driving in different weather conditions, like rain or snow, is also something to consider.
  • 3. Practice makes perfect. It’s cliché, we know, but it’s true when it comes to driving! Try letting them drive as much as possible when you’re in the car. Once your teen gets more confident in their driving skills, they’ll be able to make quicker decisions and avoid certain situations.
  • 4. Teach them how to change a tire. Or, at the very least, show them what the car is trying to tell them when certain lights come on. Familiarizing them with the basics will go a long way, and will help them out of some sticky situations (which are sometimes inevitable)! We also have a handy emergency roadside kit checklist that you can print off for them to keep in the glovebox.

Apps to help keep their eyes on the road

Most of us are connected to our devices all the time, which can serve as a pretty big distraction. However, when the task at hand is driving, it’s important that we put our devices down. Here are some of our favourite apps that help with distracted driving:

  • Some devices have a built-in Do Not Disturb function that they can also enable while they’re driving. This will stop any incoming calls or texts and will sometimes send an automatic response telling others that they’re driving.
  • Major telecom companies in Canada have devices that connect your car and your phone so it can disable showing texts or emails on their screen while the car is moving. Just like most distracted-driving-apps or in-car systems, it will still allow them to use these features if the car is in park.
  • Some safe driving apps allow you to see everyone in your family on a map so you know when they arrive at school or work. Others even come complete with crash detection and a response system that lets you know if a loved one has been in an accident.
  • Integrating their favourite apps, like music and map or direction apps, is also a good way to keep them less distracted on the roads. These apps will lower the volume or pause music altogether while giving them directions to minimize distractions.

How do you insure a new driver?

Add them as an additional driver to your insurance policy. If they live in the same household, it’s required that they’re added so your insurer knows who has access to your vehicles (no matter how often you let them drive). If they have their own insurance, but still live at home, they still need to be added to your policy. You can specify that they have their own insurance – it’s an easy process and won’t increase your monthly premium. If they do end up getting their own insurance, look out for student discounts!

Like most things, driving takes time to master. Hopefully these tips will help your teen feel less overwhelmed, and put your mind at ease.

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