Preparing for a new driver can be an exciting, yet intimidating time. Parents want their young drivers to become strong, confident drivers and experience the newfound freedom of earning a license; but young, inexperienced drivers can also find themselves in dangerous situations on the road. To best prepare for a new driver at home, parents should take these important steps.
Invest in a Driver’s Education Course
Even parents with 30 or more years of driving experience are not always equipped to teach a teenager the best practices for staying safe behind the wheel. Good driving instructors can remain calm under pressure, provide specific feedback about proper driving techniques and stay patient at all times. Investing in a driver’s education course can help young drivers get some driving experience with a professional instructor before continuing to practice with a parent or guardian.
Driver’s education courses offer a few additional benefits. For new drivers who have already spent considerable time practicing their skills with a parent, learning from a driver’s education instructor can provide a healthy second perspective on the responsibility of driving. Defensive driving courses often teach students some unique ways to proactively handle road hazards and avoid accidents, helping them become safer drivers. Additionally, once new drivers have completed a course, they will often be qualified for significant insurance discounts.
Choose a Comprehensive Insurance Policy
For new drivers, it is important to have a comprehensive insurance policy that will provide adequate coverage in the event of an accident. A well-rounded policy will also provide services that give peace of mind to parents of new drivers, such as roadside assistance and rental coverage. It is important to invest in an all-inclusive policy that provides adequate protection for newer drivers, so make sure your policy provides coverage for the automobile, the driver and any passengers.
Look for policies from insurance carriers with a reputation for good customer service and quality coverage. For example, USAA auto insurance is known for its flexible policy options and award-winning customer service. They offer multiple discounts for newer drivers, including discounts for good grades and defensive driving courses. USAA also provides flexible payment schedules, which can be helpful for teaching young drivers responsible financial management. The online claims center and mobile app functionality make it simple for younger drivers to manage their insurance policies, and drivers are rewarded with accident forgiveness after five years with a clean record. These options combine to make USAA a top-choice insurer when preparing for new drivers at home.
Secure the Proper Equipment
While it may be tempting to jump in the car and drive away, new drivers will have a much better driving experience when they have the proper equipment. Beyond just a reliable car and a set of keys, teens will need a few other items to help them prepare for any scenario. First, it’s important to have a basic roadside emergency kit in the event of car trouble. Young drivers can feel panicked if a car breaks down, so having some basic tools, such as jumper cables, reflectors, a flashlight and even a can of Fix-a-Flat can go a long way to helping teens stay calm if they are stranded.
Second, invest in some technology to maximize driver safety. While many states have already banned the use of cell phones while driving, parents can use technology for good to help their young drivers stay safe. Some vehicles offer on-board tracking and communications, but communications companies like Verizon are now offering options for connected-car systems that can work in any vehicle. These communications systems can identify the location of the vehicle and dispatch emergency services if a crash is detected. Other mobile apps can encourage safe driving habits by disabling all cell phone functionality when the cell phone is in the vehicle and the car is in motion.
Take Proactive Steps to Maximize Safety
When preparing for a new driver at home, it is important to take proactive steps to maximize safety. By thinking about the driving process in advance, parents can find the right training courses, insurance policies and safety items that will help their teens feel comfortable as they venture into their first experiences behind the wheel.