Ah, that fearful day is approaching, or it’s here. Your teen is driving. The day almost all parents dread. I can still remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach when my daughter started driving. That fear is reasonable.
Car Wrecks Are The Number One Cause Of Death For Teens In Chattanooga
The first six months of your teen’s driving are the most dangerous six months. However, our car wreck attorneys in Chattanooga can help. Here are some tips that can help lower the risk to your teen driver and help you sleep at night:
- If you can afford it, spring for a driver training course. Not only will this lower the cost of insuring your teen driver, but it will also lower your stress level, ensure your teen is well prepared for her learner’s permit test and will teach her how to drive defensively so she can avoid accidents.
- Make sure your teen gets in a lot of practice with an adult in the car helping her pay attention to the road. It’s common sense: the more she practices, the better driver they will be and they will be better prepared to take her exam to eventually get their license. Remember, before your teen can get a license, they need to have had a learner’s permit for 180 days. In Tennessee, as their parent, you must affirm in writing that they had at least 50 hours of practice driving with at least 10 hours of practice at night. Don’t just practice on sunny days. Make sure your teen knows how to drive when it’s raining, in construction areas, on the interstate and during rush hour. The only way to do this is to supervise them driving under these conditions.
- Set safety boundaries. WE CAN’T EMPHASIZE THIS ENOUGH. Both Tennessee and Georgia set stringent rules on when and how a teen can drive. The learner’s permit and the restricted license forbid your teen from having more than one passenger under the age of 21 and prevent your teen from driving between 11:00 pm and 6:00 am. These rules are not negotiable.
- Be serious about forbidding your teen from ever using a cell phone while driving. Fiddling with a cell phone, or even talking on a cell phone is equivalent to being over the legal limit for alcohol. Make using a cell phone a zero-tolerance rule. If your teen breaks this rule, she loses either driving privileges or the cell phone for a week.
- Same rule applies to seatbelts. Seatbelts save lives, it’s that simple. If you catch your teen driving (or for that matter, even riding with a friend) without a seatbelt, suspend driving privileges until your teen learns that she has to wear a seatbelt. Better to have an angry, sulky teen than a seriously injured or dead teen.
- No eating, putting on make-up, or fiddling with the navigation system or radio while driving.
- No driving when tired, stressed or angry.
- No speeding, ever. You can get an app to monitor your teen’s car speed. Go ahead and get it. Spy on them.
- Always, always, always put your teen on your car insurance. I know. It causes that insurance costs to shoot up. Talk to your insurance agent (and you should always have a local insurance agent, it doesn’t cost more and that agent really can be helpful) about ways to reduce the cost of insuring your teen.
- Make sure your teen knows what to do after an accident. Make sure they know:
- To call the police
- Not to move their car until the police tell them to do so
- If they have a camera phone and can do so safely, take pictures of the accident scene
- Do not discuss the accident with anyone (especially not the other driver) except the police
Finally, if you are in an accident with a teen driver, try to remember you too were young once. That teen is scared and shaken up so be gentle and thoughtful with the teen driver even if the accident was her fault. Keep in mind that they have to make a phone call to her parents and tell them they have wrecked the family car. They deserve some kindness, as do we all.
If you were in a car accident with a teen driver or your teen was in an accident, contact us online or call us at (423) 892-5533. We can help, even if you don’t hire us.