Teen Driving 101: What You Should Know Before Tires Touch the Pavement

Teen Driving - Top Priority List for Safety, Insurance, Affordability

Motor vehicle crashes are the top killer of teens, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC Teen Drivers Home. When it comes to driving, teens are tops in all the wrong categories: highest crash rates, highest number of passengers killed in crashes, most crashes per million miles traveled. The good news, if you can call it that, is that research shows exactly which behaviors contribute to teen crashes. Inexperience and immaturity combined with speed, drinking and driving, not wearing seat belts, distracted driving (cell phone use, loud music, other teen passengers, etc.), drowsy driving, nighttime driving, and other drug use aggravate this problem. Key strategies to reduce teen crashes include graduated driver licensing; wearing seatbelts; preventing alcohol use; and, most important, you – the parent! Teen Driver Education – center for the National Highway Traffic Administration teen driver program, including the Parental Toolkit for National Teen Driver Safety Week, Oct. 16-22 Teen Driving Parents – home for training materials from the National Safety Council, including the parent/teen driving agreement (download) Safe – and Affordable – Cars For starters, what not to buy: Large pickups and SUVs tend to have a high center of gravity and are more prone to rollovers, plus they are bulky and simply more difficult to handle. Any kind of sports car or luxury auto with power should also be avoided, for obvious reasons. Instead, look for cars with advanced safety features like side-curtain airbags, electronic stability control and good crash-test ratings. Fuel efficiency and a reasonable price tag don’t hurt, either. Cars for Teen Drivers – comprehensive review of what to look for in choosing a safe car for teen and college-age drivers from Consumer Reports, including top picks (also see video above) Top Cars for Teens – expert review of the features and best-pick cars for young drivers by the Wall Street Journal Cost-Cutting Tips on Car Insurance It’s not surprising given the crash-prone track record for teenage drivers that auto insurance premiums for this group are sky-high. However, there are ways you can control costs while not compromising on important protections. Safer cars, as referenced above, cost less to insure. Many insurance companies provide discounts for good grades (a “B” average or better) or teens who take approved defensive-driving courses. Protect yourself as well: don’t skimp on liability, as an injured party could come after your home, savings or other assets if damages in an accident caused by your teen driver exceed the liability limits in your insurance policy. Eight Tips to Cut Car Insurance for Teens, MSN Money Car Insurance for Teenage Drivers, Edmunds.com Tips for Buying Auto Insurance, Teendriving.com