It comes as no real surprise that adding your teen driver to your auto insurance policy just raised your premiums. After all, you were expecting it…you just weren’t expecting it to be that much. The reason for this is that teen drivers tend to be more aggressive and reckless by nature behind the wheel than the average, more mature driver. They’re also more likely to text or use their cell phones while driving than any other group, resulting in higher risk of an accident…and, consequently, higher auto insurance rates.
However, keep in mind that our teens have probably been watching how we drive for quite some time and from an early age. Some of their habits – good and bad – they may have picked up from us. That’s why it’s so important to set a good example for our teens.
Parental driving practices, though frequently ignored, can influence a teen in many ways, especially behind the wheel. If you’re always courteous and use your turn signals… chances are your teen will follow in your driving footsteps. On the other hand, if you’re disrespectful to other drivers, cut them off, refuse to allow them to merge in front of you, scream a lot, and shake your fist at passing motorists…you’re sending the wrong message. This also includes speeding and driving recklessly. The apple may not fall far from the tree…and, guess who’ll face the results of the damage because of their irresponsible behavior?
Young, inexperienced drivers often mimic the driving habits of those around them… which, in most cases, are usually their parents. By practicing safe driving habits within a safe driving environment, your teen is more likely to avoid participating in risky and potentially dangerous behavior while driving.
By all means, don’t get into one of those “do as I say, not as I do” lectures with your teen. If you don’t follow the advice you give them yourself, you’ll have a tough time changing your teenager’s driving habits once they’ve developed them. So, if you curse while you drive, text while you drive, or make calls on your cell phone while you drive – guess what? Your teen will probably be a mirror image of the example you’ve set for them… and, they won’t take the risks of their behavior into account or consider the possible serious consequences that come along with that behavior.
As a parent, you’re not alone. According to a study conducted in 2012 by Students Against Destructive Behavior (SADD), 91 percent of parents were observed by their teenagers using their cell phones while driving. Let’s face it, being a parent is a tough job. Setting the perfect example is equally as hard. It’s just something we have to try to give more thought to because we often have an audience taking mental notes.
While, in the end, teens are responsible for their own actions, we, as parents, play an enormous role in their judgment. A study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute bears this out. Furthermore, not only did teens witness their parents talking on the phone, they also observed them texting, speeding, and driving under the influence.
So, next time you get behind the wheel of your car with your teen, simply ask yourself if the way you’re driving is the way you want them to drive. If the answer is “no” — change your behavior. You’ll both benefit from it.
You can also benefit by making sure you’re getting the best rate on your car insurance. Why not get a free auto insurance quote today?
Do you have a teen driver? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.