Getting to know the road…
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Tips on Teenage Driving

At National General Insurance, our drivers come first — no matter what their age. And with recent studies showing that teenage drivers are four times more likely to get into accidents than adults,1 we felt it was our responsibility to offer some tips on teenage driving. We want to help you keep teenage drivers out of harm’s way and help to reduce your auto insurance premiums at the same time.

Top 10 Tips for Teenage Drivers:

Know the road — Even the best teenage drivers don’t have the judgment that comes from experience. Make sure teens understand what “skidding” really means, or driving in snow or ice, or in bumper-to-bumper traffic. And consider restricting your teens’ nighttime driving. Such driving curfews have been shown to reduce the number of crashes 40 to 60%.2

Practice makes safer — Complex intersections and traffic circles are opportunities to increase a teenage driver’s skills relative to looking in many directions and expecting the unexpected. But do take care to practice when your teenager is ready, when traffic is light, and in good weather.

Awareness is key — Make sure your teenager understands the importance of anticipating that the other guy is a bad driver – not paying attention, in a hurry, and so on.

Hang up and drive — Teen or adult, a driver talking on the phone is four times more likely to get into a serious accident.3 Advise your teen against talking on the phone while driving, and be sure to set a good example yourself.

A well-maintained car is a safe car — Teach your teen about keeping his or her vehicle in good repair. That includes tire safety, watching out for curbs and potholes, and regular oil and fluid checks along with making sure that emergency equipment, a cell phone, and a first-aid kit are always in the car.

Invest in peace of mind — A good roadside assistance program like GM® Motor Club is invaluable. With 24/7 service, it offers peace of mind to both you and your teen in case of a breakdown.

Buckle up — Wearing a seatbelt lowers the risk of serious injury in an accident by 60%. When combined with air bags, the risk is lowered by 85%.4 Plus, in most states, not wearing a seatbelt can mean a ticket, which can lead to higher rates.

Pay attention to what they drive — Before buying a teenager a new or used car, get a quote to see what the car insurance premium will be first. Rates vary according to vehicle value, repair costs, safety features, etc. Put a teen driver in as safe a car as possible. Do realize that a low-cost vehicle isn’t necessarily the answer; there are a combination of factors that our experts can help you manage to get the best possible rate – and a safe car – for your teenage driver.

Avoid a premium spike — Even minor accidents (fender-benders) when a teenager is at the wheel are more likely to cause your premiums to increase than if an adult is driving. Make sure your teenage driver is aware of that, and keep it in mind when choosing deductibles for a teenage driver’s auto insurance.

Drive smart and save big — Make sure your teenage driver does not speed or run stop signs and traffic lights. In addition to being dangerous, these kinds of violations can quickly add up and increase rates.


References:

1 Federal Highway Administration. 2001. National Household Travel Survey. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policy/ohpi/nhts/index.htm

2 Foss, R.D.; Feaganes, J.R.; and Rodgman, E.A. 2001. Initial effects of graduated driver licensing on 16-year-old driver crashes in North Carolina. Journal of the American Medical Association 286:1588-92. Mayhew, D.R.; Simpson, H.M.; Desmond, K.; and Williams, A.F. 2003. Specific and long-term effects of Nova Scotia's graduated licensing program. Traffic Injury Prevention 4:91-97. Shope, J.T. and Molnar, L..J. 2004. Michigan's graduated driver licensing program: evaluation of the first four years. Journal of Safety Research 35:337-44.

3 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. July 12, 2005. “1st Evidence of Effects of Cell Phone Use On Injury Crashes.” http://www.iihs.org/news/rss/pr071205.html

4 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 2001. Fifth/sixth report to Congress: effectiveness of occupant protection systems and their use. Washington, DC: US Department of Transportation.

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