Is your teen driving to school for the very first time this year? As a
parent you probably feel proud, relieved, and a maybe even little
concerned, especially upon learning that the first six months of
unsupervised driving are the most dangerous for new teen drivers.
So what's the best advice parents can give their teens as they give them the keys to the car and watch them head out the door?
"Don't drive distracted," advises GEICO's Janice Minshall, assistant vice president of communications. "That's the best message parents can give to new drivers. It's vital that teen drivers are highly focused driving to school in busy traffic. Highway safety experts know that young drivers don't have the experience to cope with a lot of distractions when they're first starting out."
Many states now enforce different types of graduated drivers licensing (GDL) laws to phase in expanded driving privileges for new drivers during their first 12 to 18 months of unsupervised driving. GDL laws prohibit critical distractions and give new drivers more time to focus on their driving and learn how to handle unexpected driving situations.
However, with back-to-school season right on top of us, GEICO
recommends teens follow these guidelines to help them get to school and
avoid distractions. Then repeat on day two, etc.
* Limit the use of cell phones to emergency situations. Even in an emergency situation, drivers should safely pull off the roadway to make a call.
* Limit the number of passengers. GDL laws in many states dictate that new drivers are not allowed to have any passengers in their vehicles at all for several months, other than licensed adults.
* Avoid eating while driving.
* Do any multi-tasking outside the car.
* Pay full attention to the vehicles around you.
* Be fully rested and awake when driving. Drowsiness is a major cause of accidents.
* Be familiar with the route to school and the local neighborhood roads.
* ALWAYS wear safety belts. That goes for new drivers and experienced ones.
New drivers also need to be reminded that driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal and with strict zero tolerance laws in place, the penalties are severe. (Download GEICO's handy PDF of teen safety tips at www.GEICO.com.)
by Brandy Schaffels