Driving with a teenager — or really any driver who is unfamiliar with how a car works — is always a bit nerve-wracking. They lack the judgment or reflexes that adults have, and just as importantly, they lack the experience to know how to react in dangerous situations like hydroplaning or driving between two semi-trucks. Here are a few helpful tips for surviving — and maybe even having fun — while riding with a teenage (or newbie) driver:
Turn Off All Distractions
Even adults with plenty of driving experience can get into an accident when they’re driving distracted. So, imagine what it’s like for a teenager. Keep the radio turned down, keep the conversation to simple, pleasant topics, and turn the phone off until you get to where you’re going.
Be Aware for Them
Yes, a teenage driver does need to work on being alert while driving—but your teen shouldn’t be alone in paying attention to the road. Keep your own eyes open and be ready to point out oncoming traffic, pedestrians, changing conditions, and anything else that could affect how they should be driving. Now, do not overdo it and try to be a backseat (or passenger seat) driver; that will make even them more nervous and could actually backfire. Just be ready to say something if needed.
Try to Avoid Driving at Night
Per miles driven, teens ages 16 to 19 are 4 times more likely to have a fatal crash at night than during the day. If it gets dark, foggy, or otherwise hard to see while you’re driving with a teen, instruct them to proceed with the utmost caution. If conditions become extreme, take over driving until things improve.
Find Good Car Insurance
You may think that you have to choose between good car insurance and cheap car insurance. However, the right company can help you obtain coverage that will help you meet your state’s insurance requirements without costing you an arm and a leg. You will likely pay a little more once you have a teen on the policy, but the right company could help you minimize those charges.
Invest in Some Emergency Measures
It’s a great idea, if your insurance offers it, to pay a little extra for roadside assistance for your teen. (If you cannot obtain it through your insurer, consider a AAA membership.) Even if your teen doesn’t need it right away, they’ll eventually pop a tire, lock their keys in the car, or encounter some other situation that could require roadside assistance.
Riding with a teen is more stressful than riding with an experienced driver, but if you stick with these tips and act with caution, you can enjoy the ride and help ensure that you arrive safely at your destination.