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Parents of Teen Drivers: Safety Tips to Avoid an Auto Collision

By: Anapol Weiss

Teenagers have the highest crash rate of any group in the U.S. In fact, 963,000 drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 were involved in police-reported motor vehicle crashes in 2013, which resulted in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths, according to a report by AAA.

Parents can be proactive in protecting their children and encouraging safe driving. Below are a few important tips to get started.

Choose a Safe Car

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) provides annual lists for consumers that highlight the best vehicle choices in terms of safety within certain size categories. The lists are based on crashworthy tests that determine how well a vehicle protects occupants during a crash. The IIHS looks at factors such as front crash prevention, restraints, roof strength and more. Parents can check out the safety picks for previous years if they’re planning to buy a used car.

Stop Distracted Driving Before It Starts

In AAA’s report, teen drivers were inattentive or engaged in a non-driving-related activity in 58 percent of auto collisions overall. The most frequent potentially-distracting behaviors were interacting with passengers and using a cell phone. However, there are an infinite number of other distractions, including texting while driving, that can lead to crashes. Traffic safety experts classify distractions into three main types: manual, visual and cognitive.

To combat these risks, parents of teen drivers should have an open conversation with them about not only their teen’s driving behavior, but also their own. Families can also adopt a safe driving agreement for every driver in the household to avoid driving distracted.

Find a Safe Driver Program

Some insurance companies offer safe driver programs with insurance discounts for completing them. These programs often include a parent/driver agreement, safety pledge, trip log and more to promote safe driving choices.

Be a Good Role Model

Parents can lead by example by being safe drivers themselves. By taking their own driving habits seriously, they can continuously instill those same habits in their children.