Teen drivers have a higher rate of fatal crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This is mainly due to inexperience, undeveloped driving skills, and occasional poor judgement. Teens are also prone to driving too fast, and can be easily distracted, especially with friends in the car. But with the proper training and practice, teens can learn to be attentive, careful drivers — and this training begins at home.

To better prepare your teen for driving, we offer the following recommendations.

Understand the laws concerning teen drivers. Along with understanding the rules of the road, you and your teen need to know about the laws that apply only to new drivers. In Washington state, restrictions exist to reduce high-risk driving situations and to give teens time to develop their skills and practice safe habits. These include limitations on carrying passengers, no driving late at night, and similar rules that apply for six months after getting a license. As a parent, the better you know these rules, the better you can ensure your teen follows them.

Set a good example. Good guidance is essential for helping teens develop safe driving habits. The best way to do this is by regularly taking them out for driving practice. You can also show them how it’s done by being a good driver yourself. As you drive, talk your child through situations and what to watch for on the road. Even as a passenger, they can learn a lot by watching and listening. Formal driving courses are important, of course, but are only a part of their driving education. It’s also up to parents or guardians to ensure their children are ready to handle the responsibility that comes with a driver’s license.  

Make sure you have enough insurance coverage. Your risk increases when you have a teen driver in the home. As a parent, you are legally and financially responsible if your child is under 18 and at fault for injuring someone in a car accident. This means you could be sued for their actions. To protect yourself, it’s essential you have the right type and amount of coverage. Talk with your agent about policy options or about adding an umbrella policy to augment your auto insurance.

If you have been injured in a car accident involving a teen driver and want to understand your legal options, contact the Law Offices of Michael Clark at 253.573.1000 for a free consultation.