While searching for car insurance for your teenager, you may find the rates to be remarkably higher than your own rates. So, why are auto insurance rates so much higher for teenage drivers?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), teenagers are involved in three times as many fatal crashes as other drivers on the road. In fact, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death among teenagers.
From an insurance company’s standpoint, with increased risk comes increased rates.
The Factors at Play
Here are a number of factors that go into the calculation of teenage drivers’ car insurance rates:
General Lack of Skill
Teenage drivers are at a marked disadvantage on the road because they lack the skill of older, more experienced drivers. Generally, they have not been behind the wheel long enough to make snap decisions and take evasive action to avoid traffic accidents. Most teenagers are less adept at avoiding collisions and perceiving hazardous conditions that lead to accidents.
Recent studies have shown that distracted driving has become a big problem on the road among all drivers but it’s especially true for today’s tech-savvy teenagers. Teenagers are more likely to be caught texting or talking on their cell phones while driving and it goes without saying that this is a huge distraction to someone driving a 3,000 pound vehicle. Even something as innocent as changing the radio station or having distracting passengers in the vehicle can lead to an accident. It’s so important that drivers understand that driving is an action which requires a person’s total concentration and focus.
Driving at Night
Even for the most experienced drivers, driving at night poses an increased risk. For teenagers, however, the risk of having an accident is considerably higher when
driving at night rather than during the day. This goes back to the general lack of skill a teenager has yet to learn through years of driving experience. Teenagers are also less likely to understand the risk of driving while they are sleep-deprived. Of course, the combination of alcohol and recreational driving becomes a greater risk during the nighttime hours.
Taking Unnecessary Risks
Teenage drivers, for the most part, are overconfident in their driving abilities and this leads to risky driving scenarios that a more-seasoned driver would recognize as being dangerous. Running red lights, failing to yield to other drivers or pedestrians and even passing dangerously-close to other vehicles are just a few examples of risky behavior related to overconfident driving. Drugs and alcohol can inhibit a driver’s ability to judge distances and perceive possible risks which is why so many accidents are alcohol or drug-related.
What Can I Do To Help My Teenage Driver?
As a parent, it’s your responsibility to help and guide your teenager on their road to becoming an experienced driver.
Set Boundaries and Stick to Them
Limit the number of passengers your teen is allowed to have in their vehicle and let them know how important it is to not be a distraction while riding with other inexperienced drivers. Your teenage driver should not be allowed to have any passengers in the vehicle while driving at night.
Lead By Example
The best way to guide your teenage driver in their fledgling driving career is to lead by example. Follow all traffic laws, point out risky driving patterns of other drivers and be a safe and responsible driver. Be mindful of the fact that you’re the biggest influence in determining how your teenage driver will perform while on the road by themselves.