Helpful Tips for Parents of Teen Drivers
When a teenager is old enough to take the first steps toward learning how to drive, it can be a stressful time for everyone involved. Teens may be excited about being able to have more independence, but worry about being able to pass the tests to get their license. For parents, there’s the stress of having to help their teens with the learning process and worrying about them potentially getting into a car crash when they can drive without your supervision.
If your teen is interested in starting the driver’s education process, here’s what you can do to help make the process a little less stressful.
Know the Laws for Teen Drivers
First and foremost, when your teen is getting ready to start learning how to drive, it’s important to make sure you know the laws that apply to teen drivers. The state of Michigan has a graduated licensing system in place for teen drivers which outlines requirements they need to meet to obtain different levels of licensing and what restrictions come with each license level.
This graduated licensing system is designed to help control common risk factors that lead to crashes among teen drivers. For example, a Level 1 license requires the driver to drive only under the supervision of a parent, guardian, or other adult over the age of 21; that seat belts be used; and texting/cell phone use is clearly prohibited while driving. And a Level 2 license prohibits driving between 10:00 PM and 5:00 AM (aside from a few limited reasons) and allows drivers to have no more than one passenger who is under the age of 21, except for immediate family members.
While you’re checking into Michigan driving laws, it’s not a bad idea to brush up on the rules of the road yourself to make sure you’re giving your teen good guidance.
Set a Good Example
Very often, it can seem like the last people teenagers want to listen to are their parents. But when it comes to driving habits, research has found that teen drivers often do model their parents’ behavior behind the wheel. So if you want to make sure your teen makes a habit of being a safe driver, make sure you set a good example by doing things like obeying the speed limit, not checking your phone or sending texts while driving, maintaining a good following distance, and following all other traffic laws.
Review Your Auto Insurance
Before your teen gets behind the wheel, it’s a good idea to review your auto insurance policy and call an insurance agent to discuss what having a teen driver will mean for your insurance needs. Very often, insurance companies don’t require you to purchase extra coverage if you have a teen who is driving your car while in the process of learning how to drive, but doesn’t have their license yet. But every insurance policy is different and needs may change after a teen has a license, so your insurer will be able to help you understand your unique situation.
Even if your insurance needs won’t be changing – at least not right away – it’s still important for your insurer to be aware of who will be driving your car. Your agent will also be able to help with unique circumstances like how insurance should be handled if you have a joint custody arrangement for your teen.
On the Road
Getting a driver’s license requires a lot of supervised driving time, which can be particularly nerve-wracking for parents. As you help your teen practice, try to stay calm and give them clear instructions. For example, if you’re answering a question, try saying “correct” instead of “right” so that it’s clear that you’re not telling them to make a right turn. Or if you’d like them to turn at an intersection, try to say something like “Turn left at the next light” instead of “Turn left here” so that they don’t think you want them to turn into something like a parking lot.
As they work to build their driving skills, start out slowly. Empty parking lots and residential streets are popular places for new drivers to get started. But over time, make sure to change up your routes so that they have a chance to get experience in a variety of driving situations.
Contact a Michigan Car Accident Lawyer
If you or a loved one has been injured in a traffic crash, don’t hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer as soon as possible. It’s important to make sure all of your needs will be covered and a lawyer will be able to help answer any questions you have about your case. At Scott Goodwin Law, we’re experienced in handling Michigan car accident cases. Contact us today for a free consultation.
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