Teen drivers log a lot of summer miles commuting to jobs, shuttling siblings to activities, and running errands for their parents. All that time behind the wheel means there’s a greater chance of getting into a crash, but many of these accidents are avoidable.
Here are some tips to help keep teens safe on the road:
Eliminate in-car distractions
In-car distractions — including talking on the phone, texting, using the infotainment system, and interacting with other passengers — can divert your attention from the road. Every second counts while behind the wheel, so you should minimize distractions by presetting playlists or the GPS before heading out, and activating outgoing alerts to let people know you’re driving and aren’t able to respond to texts and phone calls.
Suffering from FOMO? Pull over to check messages and make calls — because no message or call is worth a life.
Avoid driving aggressively
Speeding, rapid acceleration, and last-second braking are dangerous driving behaviors that can cause collisions — and they burn fuel at faster rates, which means you’ll be spending more at the pump. Following the speed limit and avoiding tailgating — one of the most common Mercury Insurance claims is a teen driver rear-ending another vehicle — will also save on gas and help you keep a clean driving record.
Maintain your vehicle
A vehicle’s owner’s manual contains great information, so you should take a few minutes to read it and get to know your vehicle. You’ll learn what dashboard icons mean, including two very important ones — tire pressure and brake system warnings. Take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic if the low-tire pressure light stays on after filling tires or if the brake warning light is illuminated.
The owner’s manual also tells you where fluids go. You should regularly check engine fluids (oil and coolant, and transmission, power-steering, brake, and wiper fluids) to improve your vehicle’s performance and avoid breakdowns. The manual will tell you where to add these fluids and how to determine if you’ve added enough.
Set a good example
Parents need to set a good example for their kids. That means no texting, fumbling with the GPS, or anything else that diverts your attention away from the road when you’re driving. Your kids are watching, so make sure you demonstrate behaviors that will help keep them safe.
For more tips and helpful information, visit www.drivesafe.mercuryinsurance.com.
Kevin Quinn, Vice President of Claims and Customer Experience, Mercury Insurance, [email protected]