It takes time and practice to become a good driver, and parents need to be on hand to help teens build their driving confidence and to continue to supervise their driving.
GEICO recommends that families draw up a parent-teen driving contract to make sure everyone knows what the rules are, and everyone-including parents-agrees to follow them.
For teens, the most important thing is to develop the right habits right from the start, especially during the first six months of solo driving, when teens are at the highest risk for crashes.
• Safety belts: Always wear them.
• Teen passengers: None for the first six months.
• Night driving: Not after 9 p.m.
• Distractions: No text messaging and no cell phone use while driving. (In an emergency, pull off safely to the side of the road.)
• Speeding: Prohibited entirely.
• Weather: Parents need to provide adequate practice sessions in all types of weather.
Parents need to be accountable also. They need to be the best role models in the family.
• Always wear your safety belt.
• Practice defensive driving techniques.
• Do not drive aggressively.
• Do not use your cell phone while driving.
• Do not drink and drive.
Parents and teens can review the contract each month to see how well everyone is doing.
You can get a copy of a model driving contract from the experts at GEICO.
Visit www.geico.com/information/autosafety/safety-library. Several state and local jurisdictions also provide sample parent-teen driving contracts on their Web sites.