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Set the Example

How to Be a Good Role Model for a New Driver

  • Liberty Mutual Teen Driving: new drivers

    Teen drivers get safe driving examples from many places: television ads, driving instructors, their friends. But no one has more influence over their future driving than their parents.

    The best teacher of a new driver is a good role model. Well before your teen is preparing to get their learner's permit, you should be watching your own behaviors to ensure you are following all rules of the road.

    Don't speed
    As an experienced driver, you may think that going a few miles over the speed limit isn't going to affect your driving ability, but the fact is your young passengers are paying attention and emulating your behavior. In a 2012 Liberty Mutual Insurance/SADD survey 88% of teens say that their parents speed and 94% admit to speeding themselves. A recent Insurance Institute of Highway Safety study indicates that speed was a factor in 34.5% of fatal crashes involving drivers aged 16-19 in 2010.*

    Wear Your Seat Belt
    49 states plus Washington, D.C. currently have some form of seat belt laws on the books**, with fines for non-compliance ranging from $10 to $100. That means not wearing your seat belt could not only be costly for you, but it could set a dangerous precedent for your teen when they become a new driver. According to the National Safety Council you can increase your chances of surviving a collision by more than 50% by wearing your seat belt.

    Put Down the Cell Phone
    Whether you're calling someone to say you're running late or simply returning a call, any time you pick up your cell phone while driving it is distracting you from keeping your full attention on the road. If your teen witnesses you using your phone while driving, chances are they'll do the same. More than 3,000 people were killed in crashes involving distracted drivers in 2010***, you don't want your teen to make the same mistake.

    Stay Calm
    Sitting in traffic can be an annoying experience for anyone whether they are a new or experienced driver. And no one is happy with the driver who cuts them off on the highway. But as the adult, swearing, yelling or voicing your frustration in other ways with your teen in the car could lead them to do the same. Allowing emotions to run high while behind the wheel can distract new drivers from the road.

    Get Back to the Basics
    You drive up to a 4-way stop sign on a deserted road. No one else is around. You slowly roll through the intersection instead of coming to a complete stop. Not only will that get you a ticket, but your teenager sitting in the passenger seat just saw you do that too. Need to brush up on the basic rules of the road? Take a quick refresher course.

    Whether you or your teen realize it, teenagers are influenced by the examples their parents present. In the years leading up to your teen getting their learner's permit you should be keenly aware of your own driving habits, and be sure you're exhibiting the same caution you hope they take when they are behind the wheel.

    *Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2010
    ** GSHA Seat Belt Laws
    *** National Highway Traffic Safety Administration