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Dad handing over car keys to his son for safe teen driving

How to empower teen safe driving in South Africa

Getting a driver’s licence is an exciting right of passage, but it comes with great responsibility. As a parent, you play an important role in making sure your teen becomes a safe and responsible driver. Let’s explore some essential tips to help young drivers navigate the roads safely.

 The role of parents in teen safe driving

As with many other things in life, parents greatly influence your teen’s driving habits. Children learn by watching their parents, so make sure you practise safe driving habits like wearing a seatbelt, obeying speed limits, and not using your cell phone while driving. 

It is also important to talk to your teen about the risks associated with driving, such as distracted driving, the importance of wearing seat belts, and the consequences of engaging in risky behaviours like speeding or drinking and driving. 

Furthermore, it’s a good idea to set clear rules and boundaries for your teen while they’re getting the hang of driving, including nighttime driving restrictions and limiting the number of passengers in their cars to reduce distractions and the risk of accidents.

Understanding the risks

Because of their inexperience, young drivers face unique challenges on the road. They can easily be distracted by answering phone calls and tempted to speed, which increases the risk of accidents. Additionally, if they haven’t developed the habit of wearing seat belts from a young age, they are more likely to skip them, raising the risk of injury and fatality in crashes.

 Practical tips for teen safe driving

Here are some helpful tips to help your teen become a safer driver – not to mention to lower your stress levels when they’re out on the road alone for the first time.

Practise driving

Spend plenty of time practising driving with your teen because the more they drive, the more confident they’ll become. Once they have their learner’s licence, start in low-risk, quieter areas and gradually increase to more challenging situations.

Driving schools

Enrol your teen in a reputable driving school. Advanced driving courses can also be beneficial, providing additional skills and confidence. Professional instructors will teach them the rules of the road, defensive driving techniques, and essential skills for being a responsible driver.

Avoid distractions

Teach your teen not to use their cell phone while driving. Emphasise the importance of staying focused on the road.

Nighttime driving

Restrict nighttime driving, as it can be more challenging and risky for inexperienced drivers.

Get insurance coverage

Once your child gets their licence, remember to ask your car insurance provider to list them as an “other driver” on your insurance policy. This makes sure they are covered at all times when driving your motor vehicle. Remember, adding a young driver may affect your insurance premiums, so speak with your provider to understand the impact and explore any available discounts for safe driving courses.

Please note that Prime does not provide cover for learner’s drivers and that they must be in the possession of a valid driver’s licence to be covered.

 Leading causes of road accidents among young drivers

Teen drivers, especially those aged 16 to 19, are at a much higher risk of being involved in road accidents. Arrive Alive reports that they are four times more likely to be in accidents than older drivers.

Drunk driving and speeding

Young drivers are 20 times more likely to cause accidents due to driving under the influence or speeding, significantly increasing the risk of severe accidents. Remember, there’s a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to alcohol – it’s illegal.

Texting while driving

While it’s important for teens to have their mobile phones with them in case of emergencies, using them while driving is a major distraction and a leading cause of death in accidents. Between 2019 and 2021, 8,547 people aged 21 to 34 were victims of road fatalities in South Africa. 

Distracted driving is the leading cause of road fatalities worldwide, with around 25% of crashes in South Africa attributed to mobile phone use while driving. There are quite a few helpful safety apps out there as well to ensure they keep their eyes on the road at all times.

Lack of experience

Inexperience, particularly in challenging road or weather conditions, makes young drivers more susceptible to accidents. New drivers must remember that everyone shares the same road, and part of learning to drive is learning to read the other drivers’ intentions. So, it’s important to learn how to use the road responsibly.

Failure to wear a seatbelt

This is a very simple rule to follow for the drivers and all the passengers in the car. Not wearing seatbelts greatly increases the risk of injury or death in an accident.

Passenger distractions

Teen drivers can be easily distracted by other passengers, which can lead to losing focus on the road. So keep the radio volume low and keep fellow teen passengers out of the car until they are more experienced. 

By understanding and addressing these risks through education and responsible driving practices, we can help reduce the number of accidents involving young drivers. Your efforts now can empower future drivers to make smart, safe choices on the road. With patience and practice, young drivers can safely navigate South Africa’s roads and enjoy their stunning views.

Car insurance for the family

Beyond setting a great example for your teen driver, you can give them the peace of mind that comes with being covered by Prime South Africa.

As car insurers who care, we look forward to welcoming young drivers into the Prime family. Explore our various policy options and fill out this form for a quick quote today.

Disclaimer

This article provides general information aimed at encouraging teen driver safety. However, please remember that Prime South Africa does not provide cover for unlicenced drivers and that there may be other information not included in this article. Therefore, always do your own research, follow the law and talk to your car insurance provider about the best ways to insure a young driver.

Remember only to buy car insurance through a certified financial services provider. Reach out to Prime today to learn more about getting affordable, comprehensive car insurance with fixed premiums* and a reduce-to-zero excess*. *Terms and conditions apply.

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