Planning to buy a young driver a used car as a graduation present? Or maybe you’re a young person planning to buy your own first car? There’s lots of info available on safe cars for young drivers. What also needs consideration, though, is how young drivers can improve their skills and lower their insurance rates.
Here’s some advice along those lines.
Don’t Drive Illegally
Make sure you know specifically what a young driver’s license allows him, her, or you to do. It sounds basic, but that first infraction on a young driver’s license can send insurance rates skyrocketing.
SmartAsset, a financial advice website, has a list by state of how much adding a teen driver can boost insurance rates. At the high end is Arkansas, where parents can expect insurance rates to jump 116 percent. North Carolina parents will see an increase of “only” 59 percent. My dad always said the biggest pay raise he ever got was when his 4 teens were no longer on his car insurance. If you’ll need to get your own insurance, that could be expensive.
Go to a Driving School
Kia, in conjunction with an organization called B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe), offers free driving schools around the country. Its research finds that teens who complete the program are 64 percent less likely to be involved in an accident in their first 3 years of driving, and 84 percent of all B.R.A.K.E.S. graduates since 2011 had no crashes.
Is this the only driving school? No, but it is free. Others charge varying amounts, but you have to consider the price worth it. Check with the driving school and your insurance company to see if premium discounts are offered.
Attend a Winter Driving School
Live in an area with foul weather? A winter driving school teaches drivers how to react in an icy skid and other foul-weather conditions. These skills can be life-saving when inclement weather strikes. The time to learn how to handle slippery situations is before they occur.
Can’t find a foul-weather driving school? A teen’s next best thing is a huge parking lot when it snows or rains heavily. When I was a teen I used my high-school parking lot. Allow yourself plenty of room for errors.
Get Out and Drive
It takes 10,000 hours of practice to master something. Of course, that’s the equivalent of driving for 416 days nonstop. What it means is that a teen driver should just get out and drive whenever possible in as many different circumstances as possible. Don’t be the teen driver who never goes on the highway. Drive on one for short distances (even just exit to exit) and then gradually increase your distances as your confidence increases.
Hang Up the Phone
Okay, so I’m showing my age when I say “hang up” the phone. But seriously, disconnect from your smartphone when driving. More than 1 in 8 drivers ages 18 to 20 were using their phone when involved in an accident, according to the website Texting and Driving Safety. When a teen (or any person for that matter) is texting, he or she is not driving. You’re behind the wheel, but you’re not effectively in control of your vehicle.
Have you invested in any driver training beyond high-school driver’s ed to improve your skills behind the wheel? Was it helpful?
Shopping for a new or new-to-you vehicle this weekend?
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