Teen Driving: Set the Example

Posted by Martin Nguyen October 16, 2013
Father and son in a car

Have you ever asked yourself why your auto insurance bill increased significantly after adding your teen driver to your policy? Well, the answer is pretty simple, teens tend to drive in a more aggressive or reckless nature than the average driver. But, before you start lecturing your teen for texting or calling while they’re driving, keep in mind your own driving habits.

An important aspect of teen driving that’s often neglected is parental driving practices and how influential parents’ behaviors are on teen driving. Young drivers are inexperienced and therefore often mimic the driving habits of those who surround them. By creating a safe driving environment and practicing safer driving habits, you can reduce your teen’s exposure to risky behavior.

It’s hard to change a teenager’s driving habits if you don’t follow the advice you give them. As cliché as it sounds, you have to practice what you preach. It’s something that sounds so easy, yet it’s astonishing how many parents do not follow their own rules. According to a study done by Liberty Mutual and Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) in 2012, 91% of parents were observed by their teenagers talking on their phone while driving.

Although teens are responsible for the actions they take, parents also play a big role in their child’s judgments, according to research by the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institution. In addition, if you take another look at the study by LM and SADD, you can see that not only were parents observed talking on the phone by their teens; they were also observed texting, speeding, and driving under the influence. These statistics were almost identical to the self-reported teen statistics, indicating a very strong parental influence in teen driving behaviors.

The next time you’re in the car with you teen, ask yourself, am I driving the way I want them to drive? If not, correct your behavior and you may see a huge difference not only in your teenager’s driving habits – but also your own driving habits.

Here are a few tips for parents with teenage drivers:

  • Be positive rather than telling them what not to do
  • Encourage safe practices without offending or upsetting them
  • Celebrate their positive instincts rather than dwelling on their mistakes
  • Inform them about the consequences and dangers of reckless driving habits

If you have questions about adding a teen to your auto policy, check with your Safeco agent.

Check out Safeco’s Teen Safe Driver Discount program.

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