The Importance of Defensive Driving for Teenage Drivers: Tips and Strategies – Guest Post

Defensive Driving

Many teenagers are looking forward to the day they turn 16. It’s a milestone birthday for many reasons, one of the most significant being the ability to drive. Teens can get their learner’s permits and start their driving journeys.

Although it’s an exciting time, teenage drivers are most at risk for accidents on the road due to their inexperience. This doesn’t mean you have to restrict your teen from driving until they’re 18.

But it does mean you need to be diligent about teaching them good driving habits that keep them and everyone else on the road safe, starting with defensive driving techniques.

The Significance of Defensive Driving Techniques for Teen Drivers

Defensive driving describes practices that ensure you’re driving safely on the road and can identify and avoid hazards intuitively. For example, with defensive driving, you can swerve around unexpected road objects without losing control, or you could recover from a skid.

Preparing for hazardous events on the road and driving with safety at the forefront helps your teen drive with confidence. Continue reading for more on the significance of teaching your teen to be a defensive driver.

Your teen will develop better driving habits

Unfortunately, many teens are injured or killed in car accidents every year. Distracted, reckless, and impaired driving are some of the common causes of these accidents. Further, there are multiple types of distracted driving, including auditory, manual, cognitive, and visual. Teens like to text, which can qualify as all three of the latter distraction types.

Around 20% of accidents are due to distracted driving, and in 2019, up to 9% of crash-related deaths involved distracted driving. To avoid potentially fatal crashes, teens must get in the habit of driving defensively instead of distractedly.

The foundation of defensive driving is safety. Teens are taught how to pay attention on the road and anticipate the actions of other drivers to avoid incidents. They become more aware of their surroundings when driving and are better equipped for proactive decision-making on the road.

When your teen adopts defensive driving techniques, they’re adopting better driving habits as well.

They will contribute to the safety of others on the road

When your teen uses defensive driving strategies, they contribute to the safety of the drivers on the road around them. This is because when your teen is driving safely and proactively, they can avoid potentially hazardous situations with other drivers, thus resulting in safer travels on the road for everyone.

They’re prepared for hazards

One of the most important aspects of defensive driving is knowing what to do when you’re faced with common road hazards, like debris in the road, animals crossing, icy or wet roads, and potholes.

It would be ideal if your teen never had to experience an accident or dangerous situation on the road. But it’s more likely that they will. Being prepared for these circumstances can save their life or someone else’s.

You can trust they’re safe on the road

There’s nothing like how much you worry as a parent when your teen is out on the road. Anything can happen. And the thought of losing your teen to an accident or them being injured while driving is difficult to stomach.

When your teen learns defensive driving techniques, it’s easier to trust that they’re safe on the road. You’ll be more comfortable giving them the freedom to drive.

This autonomy in their activities and decisions can be a great thing for your teen, especially when it comes to their mental health. Your support and trust can help them navigate challenges like depression because they’ll feel more protected and confident in you and themself.

Note that along with safe driving practices, you must ensure your teen is physically and mentally safe to drive. So, pay attention to how their depression or other mental health challenge is affecting their behavior. If you think it’s unsafe, keep them from driving until their mental health stabilizes.

Avenues for Teaching Teens Defensive Driving

With the significance of defensive driving techniques in the back of your mind, the next step is figuring out how to best teach your teen these safe driving methods. Which teaching avenue you choose depends on your teen’s needs and current driving abilities, and your budget and comfort level.

The common choice is letting your teen attend a defensive driving course with a certified instructor. There are many driving school companies offering defensive driving courses for a range of prices. You’ll want to do your research on the most reputable ones in your area.

Comb through the reviews from past customers. Visit the website for each company and see what they say about what your teen can expect to learn in the course and how much it is. Look at the background of the instructors as well before making a final decision.

Another avenue for teaching teens defensive driving is you. Parents can take on the role of the driving instructor and teach their kids defensive driving techniques along with all other driving best practices.

You may have to log the hours you spend teaching your teen to drive for the lessons to be counted when they go for their permit or license. But it’s worth the extra effort because your teen might feel a lot more comfortable with you teaching them to drive safely than they would with a stranger.

You also have the option of virtual or online driving classes. Pairing this with hands-on lessons is probably the best approach to ensure your teen gets the on-the-road experience they need.

Prepare Your Teen’s Car for Safety First

When you’re ready for your teen to start their driving lessons, the first step is ensuring the car they will be driving is safe. Take the vehicle to your mechanic or a reputable car shop for a tuneup to confirm it’s in good working condition.

Also, find the right car insurance for your teen. Ask your car insurance agent about the state-minimum coverage you need for your teen as well as the rate for comprehensive and collision insurance. Inquire about whether the car your teen will be driving is worth paying for comprehensive/collision insurance.

Shop around to see if adding them to your family policy or getting a separate one for them is more affordable. Look for teen drive discounts too. For instance, some insurance companies will consider your teen’s grades for a discount.

Your rates will likely be on the higher end because insurance companies tend to see teen drivers as a risk. So, you’ll need to do some digging to find the best options.

When your teen hits driving age, it can be scary for you and them. But teaching them defensive driving techniques and all the other driving best practices will ensure their safety and your peace of mind.

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