When your teenage son or daughter turns 15, he or she anticipates the excitement of learning to drive. However, you anticipate the stress and fear of putting your inexperienced child behind the wheel.
Follow these tips to help your teenage son or daughter have a safe transition from passenger to driver.
1. Practice, Practice, Practice
The best way for your teen to feel comfortable on the road is to get as much practice as possible. He or she may get some practice through a drivers’ education course. But he or she should also practice with you, the parent. In fact, Illinois law requires teenage drivers to get 50 hours of driving practice before they can get a license.
Start out by practicing with your teen in neighborhoods or parking lots. As he or she becomes more comfortable, let him or her drive on local streets. Eventually, he or she should try driving on highways.
Make sure your teen gets some practice driving at night as well. Illinois law requires that 10 of the 50 practice hours are at night.
2. Know Teenage Driving Laws
Illinois has set several laws to protect teen drivers and others on the road. If the teenage driver is under 18, he or she must apply for an instruction permit before getting a license. He or she has to pass a written test and a vision test before he or she can get the permit. With a driving permit, the teen can drive only with adults 21 years old or older.
After a teen has turned 16 and has held the permit for at least nine months, he or she can apply for a driver’s license. To qualify for the license, they must have completed an approved driving course. They must also pass a three-part test.
As a parent, you are crucial to this process. To get the license, your child must have written consent from you. You must also verify that your child has had 50 hours of driving practice.
Even once your child gets his or her driving license, he or she still needs to obey certain laws, such as curfews. Drivers under 18 cannot drive without a parent or guardian between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and between 11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Teenage drivers must also attend school regularly or their license could be suspended.
You can help your child meet state requirements by making sure he or she knows and follows these laws and requirements.
3. Set Family Rules
Consider setting your own family rules that reinforce current safe driving laws. For example, Illinois law prohibits texting while driving. It even prohibits the use of hand-held devices while driving. Set family rules that your teen cannot use his or her phone while driving.
If your teen struggles to follow this rule, consider installing an app to help. For example, the Canary app notifies you if your teen drives unsafely. Drive Smart is an app that mutes incoming calls and texts and sends an automatic response to them.
You should also set a family rule that your teen follow other important laws like wearing a seatbelt and following speed limits. According to Allstate Insurance Company, 79% of teens surveyed admitted to speeding. It’s important to set the example for how your teen should drive. In the same Allstate survey, more parents admitted to speeding than teens—a whopping 84% of parents, in fact.
Also, teens are more likely to die in a car crash if they have friends in the car with them. Consider setting rules of when your teen can give rides to friends and how many friends they can take in the car.
4. Add Your Child to Your Insurance Plan
It’s important to protect your teenage driver, his or her passengers, and others on the road. The best way to protect your teen is to choose the right car insurance. If your teen gets in a car accident, car insurance can cover the cost for injuries or damages. If your teen was responsible for the accident, it can cover the injuries and damages to others. Make sure you choose a comprehensive insurance plan that meets state requirements for teenage drivers.
Many people call their current insurance company and ask them to add their sons or daughters to the policy. However, be aware that adding a teenage driver can significantly increase your insurance rates. The numbers can increase even more if your teenage son or daughter gets a ticket.
Ask your insurance company about any possible discounts, such as multi-car discounts. You may also wish to get quotes from other insurance providers. See whether you can save money by switching providers.
If you need help finding the right car insurance, call Metropolitan Insurance Service Consultants. We can help you find a great car insurance plan to protect your teenage driver and your entire family.