West Bend Mutual Insurance Company

Keep Your Teen Drivers Safe

Teen drivers have more accidents. How you can help them to drive more safely.

By - Aug 15th, 2019 03:41 pm
Accident on E. Mason St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Accident on E. Mason St. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

After many hours of practice, getting a license is an important milestone for young drivers and parents alike, but being a new driver carries special risks.

Per mile traveled, teenage drivers are more likely to be involved in a crash than all but the oldest adult drivers. During their first months of licensure, teens have a particularly high risk of crashing. Auto crashes are the leading cause of death among American teens, accounting for nearly a third of all deaths of 16 to 19-year-olds.

What can parents do to mitigate this risk?

Restrict night-time driving.
About two of every five fatal crashes involving young drivers occur between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. The problem isn’t just that driving in the dark requires more skill behind the wheel. Late outings tend to be recreational, and even teens who usually follow the rules can be easily distracted or encouraged to take risks.

Restrict the number of passengers.
Teenage passengers riding in a vehicle with a beginning driver can distract the driver and encourage greater risk-taking. Having two passengers in the car about doubles the chance of a crash, and having three or more passengers more than triples that risk.

Don’t rely solely on driver’s education.
It’s important to help teens learn and incorporate safe driving techniques that may not be covered in traditional driver’s education courses. West Bend cares about keeping teen drivers safe and offers policyholders a few resources:

  • Road America Teen Driving Program

The Road America Teen Driving Program allows teens to practice common emergency situations while in a safe, controlled, off-street environment. Young drivers practice collision avoidance techniques such as emergency lane changes, braking, skid control and a variety of other fundamental car control drills.

A valid driver’s license or learner’s permit is required, and participants will use a Road America supplied vehicle. Parents are highly encouraged to participate with their teen. Spots are still available for the fall 2019 classes, and West Bend policyholders receive a nearly 60 percent discount! This class will empower your new driver to feel even more confident on the road.

Learn more and sign up at the Road America Teen Driving Program website.

  • ADEPT Driver teenSMART

This online course, developed in 1999, was the first driver safety program to identify and address the six behavioral and social factors that cause more than 90 percent of all teen collisions:

  1. Visual search, noticing many things on the road at once
  2. Hazard detection, the process of scanning, detecting, recognizing and reacting to a potential danger
  3. Speed adjustment based on traffic, weather and other driving conditions
  4. Space management, techniques and procedures to control the road space around the car
  5. Risk perception, understanding potential hazards on the road
  6. Lifestyle issues, distractions such as passengers and night-time driving

Today, an updated teenSMART remains the most proven and effective teen driver skill building and crash reduction program. This computer-based program includes video learning segments, realistic driving simulations and in-car driving activities for new drivers and their parents. Drivers who complete teenSMART are safer and more skilled, and have fewer collisions, injuries and insurance claims.

West Bend policyholders receive $50 off the program cost. Learn more about the program and sign up online.

West Bend has many other resources and more information about keeping your teen driver safe. Click here to access educational videos, our teen driving contract, and more!

Other safe driving posts from West Bend Cares Blog:

Visit thesilverlining.com to obtain more information or to be connected with an agent.

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