There are many things to celebrate in October but one that might not get the attention it deserves is National Teen Driver Safety Week (October 20-26, 2019).
We always want to encourage safe driving in Fort Walton Beach and surrounding areas, but thought this week was a great opportunity to provide you with some actionable items that you can implement and share with those you love.
Parents can be the biggest influences on their children’s choices behind the wheel, so it’s important to set expectations and lead by example for children of all ages.
My children are preschool and elementary age but we’re already less than 10 years away from learning to drive with our oldest! I’m thankful that she, along with her brother, are very aware of what their drivers do and don’t do. My husband and I cannot reach for our phones while driving without being called out. Not only am I thankful for the accountability but I’m thankful that they notice these things whether I’m driving them or someone else.
The next age bracket (middle schoolers) might not give their parents the time of day while in the car, but they’re definitely still watching. It’s never too early to explain to your preteens why you make the choices you make while driving and talk about directions.
Next, is a dreaded pain point in all parent’s lives: it’s time to add your teen driver to your auto policy! ? Teen driving statistics are so scary they’ll keep you up at night, so instead of scaring you further, we’d like to share a Family Driving Contract that you can discuss with your children before they become permitted drivers and review with them again when they become licensed.
• I will always wear my seat belt.
• I will obey all traffic laws at all times to ensure my safety and the safety of others.
• I will avoid distractions; I will not talk on my cell phone or text message while driving.
• I will only have _____ friends in my car at a time without prior approval.
• I will not let anyone else drive the vehicle entrusted to me.
• I will maintain a GPA of _____ and attend all of my classes.
• I will never exceed the speed limit.
• I will not drive more than _____ miles from the house or school without permission.
• I will let you know my plans when I use the car, and I will call home if those plans change.
• I will abide my curfew of ___:___ and will call home if I think I will be more than _____ minutes late.
• I will not ride in a vehicle of a driver who has been drinking or using illicit drugs. If I find myself in an unsafe situation, I understand that I can call my parents anytime, anywhere.
• I will communicate openly and respectfully with my teen about their driving and the promises made within this contract.
• I will provide calm and respectful feedback when riding in a car my teen is driving.
• I will serve as a responsible role model when operating a vehicle to help teach good driving habits to my children of all ages.
• If my teen is in an uncomfortable or unsafe situation involving alcohol or illicit drugs, I agree to come pick him/her up regardless of the time or place. If it is not possible, I will pay for a taxi or Uber to bring my teen home safely. There will be no argument at that moment, but a discussion of such an incident will follow at a later time. Likewise, I too, agree to never drive if intoxicated or ride with a friend who has been drinking or using illicit drugs.
VEHICLE COSTS + VEHICLE MAINTENANCE
Delegate whether the parent or teen driver will be responsible for the following vehicle costs and maintenance:
• Cost of vehicle:
• Cost of fuel:
• Insurance costs:
• Vehicle registration:
• Maintenance costs:
• Fines and penalties:
• Damage to vehicle:
• Check fluids regularly
• Inspect tires and air pressure
• Clean all windows
• Keep interior and exterior clean
• Normal maintenance
• Report any unusual performance
We suggest that you have a family meeting and use this contract as a guide for conversation to set expectations and rules for how your family will handle this exciting time. And don’t forget to include your teen in the insurance process! Shopping for insurance and even knowing common insurance terms tend to be something that is rarely advised on and a great real-world learning experience.
Do you have a teenage driver and don’t like your rates? We can help with that! If you have all of your information handy, fill out this form or if you want to discuss with one of our experienced, licensed agents, fill out this quick version and we’ll be in touch!