Despite the fact that members of Gen Z are slower to get their license than teens in the past, passing the driver's test is still very much a rite of passage. These days, 61% of 18-year-olds have a driver's license in the United States.
And their parents still worry about them as they get that first taste of freedom on the open road.
Watching your teen pull out of the driveway alone for the first time can be nerve-wracking. Are they ready? Do they know everything?
It's hard to guarantee they'll know everything, but you can start by making sure they know these important facts about driving to make good decisions.
1. 7 Teens Die in Car Crashes Every Day
You probably don't want to scare your teen out of learning to drive, but the fact is that teens are at much higher risk for car accidents than adults. According to the CDC, nearly 2,400 teens were killed in car accidents in 2019, and hundreds of thousands were injured. Inexperience combined with distractibility and a penchant for speeding makes for a dangerous combination.
The Upshot: Make sure to lay ground rules about curfews, friends in the car, and cell phone use to help keep your teen safe behind the wheel.
2. 20% of Teens Get Into an Accident Their First Year Driving
Not every accident is fatal. Fender benders happen, and they happen more often to young drivers. According to DoSomething.org, one in five 16-year-olds has an accident in their first year of driving. Many accidents are small, but even a dent can be stressful.
The Upshot: Make sure your teen knows exactly what to do if they are in a car accident. In addition to checking for injuries, they'll also need to move to the side of the road, call 911, and exchange insurance information with the other driver. Keeping a checklist in the glove compartment, along with the insurance details, can help.
3. Driver's Ed Gets You a 10% Insurance Discount
Speaking of insurance, teens get charged some of the steepest rates around. Fortunately, enrolling in a driver's ed course can earn new drivers a discount of up to 10% on car insurance.
The Upshot: Don't let your teen skip class! Online driver's ed is an affordable way to make the most of your insurance company's discounts.
4. Driving Over 50 MPH Is Expensive
Gas prices are soaring, and it won't take long for your teen to realize how expensive it can be to fill a gas tank. Driving faster than 50 mph gets costly: for every 5 mph faster you go, you can count on an extra $.30 per gallon in fuel costs. Keeping speeds down is the best way to save.
The Upshot: If your teen is a speed demon, the economic argument could incentivize them to slow down and stay safe.
5. You Have 2 Gallons of Fuel When the Light Comes on
When the fuel light comes on, do you know how far you can go? The average car has 2 to 3 gallons left in the tank at that point. With that information, you can calculate how far you can go based on your car's fuel efficiency. That's how long they have to get to the nearest gas station.
The Upshot: Teach your teen to keep an eye on the dashboard and plan ahead. If they do run out of gas, make sure they know what steps to take.
Knowing these facts — and their significance — should help your teen get ready for independent driving. Not sure if your teen ready for the road? DriversEd.com is here to help! Sign up for practice permit tests and teen driving classes today.