It’s a rite of passage that teens look forward to, while parents dread—your son or daughter is ready to drive. And while it’s exhilarating for your teen to experience this new sense of independence, having teen drivers in the family can be a stressful (and expensive) time in your child’s development into adulthood.
Additionally, under Florida Law, a parent who signs for their child’s driver’s license is just as responsible (in civil, not criminal court) for the injuries they cause as if the parent was driving the car themself when the auto accident happened. This law applies until your child turns 18 years old. While your child’s safety and the well being of others are your primary concerns, this added issue is also extremely important to keep in mind.
Here are some tips to keep your young driver safe and avoid being in a car accident during their first months on the road:
1) Minimize Distractions
Distractions can come in many forms, from eating to changing music selections on the radio or iPod. As parents, we must remember that we are setting the example for our children from an early age as they observe us behind the wheel. In a recent insurance company survey, 80% of teens said that their parents have the most influence over their driving habits. We must learn to practice what we preach and focus on our driving, not only when children are present, but as a habit.
2) Practice Defensive Driving
Part of being a focused driver is being aware of the traffic ahead, behind and next to you at all times, and having possible escape routes in mind. These skills will continue to improve as the teen becomes a more experienced driver, but while he or she is still learning to drive, encourage your teen to keep an appropriate distance from other cars and to be aware of surroundings and potentially dangerous situations that could cause an auto accident.
3) Obey Speed Limits and Driving Laws
Speeding causes about 40% of all fatal teen car accidents. Teens often feel pressured to drive faster because more experienced drivers speed by them, but the lack of experience combined with the speed can be a deadly combination. Make sure that your teen understands the importance of driving the speed limit and is committed to following the rules of the road, especially wearing a seat belt. Speeding tickets during the first few months of driving can be a real red flag for a parent.
Next week, we’ll cover three more tips to share with your teen drivers. If you or your teen, or someone you know has been in a car accident and needs to speak with an attorney, please call Christopher Ligori & Associates at (877) 444-2929 or fill out our online form for 24/7 assistance.