Teenagers, especially the male variety, are known to be poor decisionmakers. Much of this is due to their brains not being fully developed, making it difficult for them to conceptualize how their actions may result in negative outcomes. Add a 3,500 pound vehicle to the mix, put a mobile computer into their hands, and you can see how this could end badly.
This is what you can do to protect them and you.
Talk to Them
Reinforce the absolutely frightening reality of what happens when that aforesaid nearly 2 ton vehicle crashes into a 200 pound human being. Sure, you’re a parent and your kids may tune out anything you say anyway, but if you talk directly of the immense responsibility that comes along with the great freedom of driving, it starts the conversation. Many teens also have this reinforced in their driver’s education classes, but hearing it repeatedly cannot hurt.
Ensure They are Protected By Insuring Them
Adequate insurance is a must and a legal requirement for all drivers in Illinois. It is all the more important for a young driver. Younger and less experienced drivers are likely to experience crashes at a much higher rate than others.
The state minimum for liability insurance is $25,000 per person per incident and $50,000 per incident. If you think this will cover anyone for severe injuries, think again. Just think what happens if your teen driver hits someone in the crosswalk and they sustain a fractured leg and miss 4 months from work. Just the hospital and surgical bills alone would not be covered by a state minimal policy. Do you really want to leave your personal assets, your house, your savings at risk?
Be sure your newer driver carries his or her auto insurance card at all times.
As mentioned in this blog multiple times in the past, you should always have the highest coverage possible. I always recommend if you have children that the limits of liability be a minimum of $500,000 and possibly up to $1,000,000. In fact, if you own a house, or have significant assets of any type, it is almost a given that you should have a limit of $1 million plus an umbrella policy that covers anything over that amount. All it takes is one mistake by a young driver to endanger all that you’ve worked for.
If you have priced insurance for teen drivers, you know that it is very costly. This is part of the package along with insane food bills and the apparent inability to either communicate or do laundry. Teens are extremely costly to insure. As stated above, the reason is their propensity for getting into crashes. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your teen is special. It can happen to anyone. Be ready in case it does.
Teens driving now are subjected to distractions our distracted minds could only dream of back in the dark ages of the late 70s. Sure, we had the radio, food, other cars, and girls to distract us, but teens today have grown up their entire lives with mobile computers that are at their beck and call 24/7.
While driver’s education and law enforcement have combined nicely to limit teen texting and phone use while driving (it is reinforced as an absolute never do no no), humans are still our own worst enemies. Be honest, the safest drivers would probably admit to checking their phones while driving on occasion. What do you think teens (especially males, those of the still-developing brains) might do?
It is never a bad idea to model good habits. Never use your phone while in the car. Put it away in the console. Model good, legal, behavior for your teen. Talk to your new driver about the penalties, and more importantly, the consequences of even a few seconds of phone usage. There are just oodles of unfortunate stories of deaths and catastrophic injuries caused by a mere second or two of inattention.
Talk to your new driver about what happens if they do get into a crash, whether it is their fault or not. What to Do In the Event of An Accident.
Drive With Your Kids/Drive Your Kids Crazy
Your children may not be all that thrilled with having to drive with their parents. The revised driver’s education requirements force this to happen far more than it did in my day. As long as you are both stuck with one another, here are a few tips on how to make that coexistence fun and productive:
- Let them drive to their events
- Challenge them to show you where the fun places to drive
- Let them play their music and talk about it while driving
- Talk about anything but driving and let them actually relax a bit and perhaps enjoy the experience
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have the misfortune of having your newer driver be involved in a crash, contact a lawyer immediately.
- Drive safely and defensively
- Get your vehicle ready
- Accidents happen
- Teach your children well
- Contact a lawyer
Contact Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Stephen Hoffman
As in all cases involving injury and potential liability, immediately get medical treatment, report the crash to police and your own insurance company, and contact a personal injury lawyer.
If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has nearly 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He has been named a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.
Stephen handles personal injury and workers' compensation claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything upfront and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day, contact Stephen now.