teen driving - 2/3 - Spencer Insurance Agency, Inc

Talk to your Teen Driver about their driving habits

Picking up the keys

All parents face several tough conversations with their children:  teaching them about alcohol and drugs, teaching them about sex, teaching them about death, teaching them about winning and losing.  Many parents also have to discuss divorce, loss of jobs, loss of stature and some, loss of freedom.  I know your plate is already full, but I need to make you aware of one more important conversation to have with your teenager:  The Teenager – Parent Teen Driving Contract that you can download from the Resources page of my Teen Driving website.  Also check out our “Careless Driving Consequences” which provide some talking points when discussing safe driving with your teen driver. Find these on our website at www.spencerinsurance.com. Click the “Have a Teen Driver” icon on the bottom of our home page.

Your first reaction to requiring your teen to sign a contract may be a negative one.  But think about it as a tool that:

  1. can clearly define your driving expectations of your teen
  2. can forewarn your teen of the consequences of making the wrong choices
  3. requires  your teen to promise to drive in a safe manner

Too many teens think driving is a right that comes with age; you need to make them understand that it is a privilege that must be earned and executed responsibly.  Protect your teen from making mistakes that could harm him and others, as well as the entire family.

For more tips for parents of teen drivers go to our website and click the “Have a Teen Driver” icon.  Call us if you need any help finding or printing these items.

 

7 Costly Mistakes Parents Make When Buying Insurance For Teen Drivers

happy girl in the car

I don’t have space to discuss all 7 Costly Mistakes.  Check out the full Report on our Website.  I want to concentrate on the 3 Most Costly mistakes parents make when buying car insurance for teen drivers.

#3 Insuring your home and cars with 2 different agents – If you insure your home and cars with two different companies then you may be paying 25% more than you need to pay.  Since the price of car insurance for a policy that includes teen drivers is higher, that 25% extra could add up to a lot of your hard earned money.  An advantage of using an independent agent is that your agent can look at your entire account and place your insurance with the company that gives you the most competitive rates and the proper coverage.  On some occasions that may be two different companies but your independent agent can research which companies are best for you.

#2 Lower Liability Limits to Save Money –This mistake can be a financial disaster!  We get many requests to lower coverage to save a few bucks.  However, when you have a teen driver that is the time you need those higher limits.  Teen drivers are five times more likely to have an accident and the cost of a teen driver claim is 3 times higher.  As the saying goes. . . Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.  A little savings now could cost you dearly in the future!

#1 Using an insurance employee as an agent – Don’t trust your hard earned money with someone who works directly for an insurance company.  Does that employee have your best interest at heart or the insurance company’s best interest?  You need an agent that can find ways to save you money even if that means splitting up your coverage with multiple companies. The insurance company employee can only offer you one company.  At Spencer Insurance we have many top notch insurance companies to offer you.  Our goal is to give you the proper protection at a very competitive price.  “Your Protection and Peace of Mind is our only Business.”  Make sure your family and friends have the proper coverage.  Pass this information to them and have them give us a call at 215-885-2200.  We reward you for your referrals!

Sticker Shock for the Parents of Teen Drivers!

All parents have sticker shock when they learn how expensive insuring their new
teen driver is going to be.  Especially in today’s economy everyone is looking for
ways to save money and reduce costs.

But you always want to keep in mind the primary reason you buy insurance; to
protect your assets from the unexpected large claim.  No one really wants ‘cheap’
insurance, but everyone wants to feel they get good value for their dollars.

I’m going to tell you about the most costly
mistake you can make as a parent:

Lowering liability limits for teen drivers to save money

This mistake can cause you financial disaster. You have to remember that the
real purpose of insurance is to save you from the catastrophic claim, not the minor
bump-up.  If your teen causes an accident that seriously injures others, you will
want the most coverage you can afford.

Many times parents will cut back their liability limits just to save a few bucks – thinking
nothing will happen. The fact is teen drivers are 5 times more likely to get into an
accident than an experienced driver and the cost of a teen driver’s claim is on average
3 times higher.

The smartest decision a parent can make is to increase the liability limits to at least
$250,000/$500,000 and add a million dollar liability umbrella. This is the cheapest way
to get great coverage. You can do this and still save money.

 

For more tips for Parents of Teen Drivers go to our Website and click the “Have a Teen Driver?” starburst.

Driving in Inclement Weather

The Fall Colors have been beautiful the last few weeks.  Then all of the sudden I have a carpet of leaves on my front lawn, sidewalk and porch.

Driving down the street last weekend with the wet leaves covering the road reminded me that the leaves soon will be replaced with ice and snow.  This is the time to start thinking of ways to take the opportunity to teach your teen drivers how to drive safely in bad road conditions.

Parents should not avoid taking their children out during bad weather to teach them how to handle these conditions.  It is probably one of the most difficult lessons to administer.  The reason is that parents feel very uncomfortable putting their children behind the wheel in these conditions.  This is only natural as your instinct wants to protect your children.

However, eventually they will be driving in these conditions whether it is heavy rain, wet leaves, snow or ice.  It is better to prepare them for these conditions with a few lessons.

The tough part of this training is that it has to be done on a moments notice.  Depending on when your teen receives their permit you may not see snow or ice for a year or more.  So as soon as the opportunity presents itself jump on it.  It will be a valuable lesson for your teen.

When starting this lesson go back and remember the first lesson you gave your teen.  It was probably in some remote area like an empty parking lot.  That is a great place to start this
training.  Even though your teen may have been driving for a while they have not experience the effects of ice and snow on the car.

Take them out into that empty parking lot where you have some room to maneuver.  Have them brake on the snow and ice.  Show them it takes more time to stop when sliding on ice and snow.  Explain to them the importance of putting more distance between their car and the car in front of them when it rains, snows or is icy on the roads. Keep practicing braking, turning and steering through the snow and ice.  Discuss what black ice is.

Take time to go over safety checks with your teen.  Show them how to properly clear their car of snow and ice.  Make sure they remove all the snow from their car and not just the snow on the windshield.  How many times have you been behind a car or truck and snow blew off the top of their truck or car and landed right on your windshield blinding you temporarily

Show your teen how to get leaves and snow out of the area  surrounding your windshield wipers.  Have them make sure the wipers are free of snow and ice and that the windshield
washer fluid tubes are not blocked by ice and snow.  Make sure the windshield washer fluid is full and that you have a backup container in the trunk of the car.

Another tip is to put together a winter safety kit for each of your cars.  Use a small plastic container and fill it with the following items: blanket, spare gloves and hat,
small shovel, emergency flasher and flashlight, sand or cat liter, and windshield washer fluid.  Make sure you car also has an ice scraper and a brush to remove snow from the top of your
car.

Remember your teen’s inexperience and poor decisions are only compounded when they drive in bad weather conditions.  Take the time to practice how to drive in these conditions.  It is valuable time spent making your teen a safer driver.

For more tips on teen driving safety visit: www.spencerinsurance.com and click the “Make your Teen a Safe Driver” banner.

Back to School Bus Safety Tips

Most of you probably have children back in school, or returning to school soon.  We came across some bus safety tips we wanted to share with you. It
might be a good idea to print these out and go over them with your loved ones. For some 25 million students nationwide, the school day begins and ends with
a trip on a school bus. Unfortunately, each year many children are injured and several are killed in school bus incidents.

Rules for getting on and off the school bus:

Getting on the school bus

  • When waiting for the bus, stay away from traffic and avoid roughhousing or other behavior that can lead to carelessness. Do not stray onto streets, alleys or private
    property.
  • Line up a safe distance away from the street or road as the school bus approaches.
  • Wait until the bus has stopped and the door opens before stepping onto the roadway.
  • Use the handrail when stepping onto the bus.

Behavior on the bus

  • When on the bus, find a seat and sit down. Loud talking or other noise can distract the bus driver and
    is not allowed.
  • Never put your head, arms or hands out of the window.
  • Keep aisles clear – books or bags are tripping hazards and can block the way in an emergency.
  • Before you reach your stop, get ready to leave by getting your books and belongings together.
  • At your stop, wait for the bus to stop completely before getting up from your seat, then walk to the
    front door and exit, using the handrail.

Getting off the school bus

  • If you have to cross the street in front of the bus, walk at least ten feet ahead of the bus along the side of the road until you can turn around and see the driver.
  • Make sure that the driver can see you.
  • Wait for a signal from the driver before beginning to cross.
  • When the driver signals, walk across the road keeping an eye out for sudden traffic changes.
  • Do not cross the center line of the road until the driver has signaled that it is safe for you to begin
    walking.
  • Stay away from the rear wheels of the bus at all times.

Correct way to cross the street

  • Children should always stop at the curb or the edge of the road and look left, then right, and then left again before crossing.
  • They should continue looking in this manner until they are safely across.
  • If a student’s vision is blocked by a parked car or other obstacle, they should move out to where drivers can see them and they can see other vehicles — then stop, and
    look left-right-and left again.

We hope you find these safety tips useful.  Please pass them along to those you care about.

For more safety tips and tips on how to save money on your insurance go to our website at www.spencerinsurance.com.

 

Keep Our Teens Safe!!

teen driverStarting May 1st, New Jersey young drivers will face additional restrictions designed to help keep our teens safe.

The new law requires a red reflective decal on the front and rear license plates of vehicles operated by a permit or probationary license holder under age 21.  These decals are removable should another driver who is not a permit or probationary license holder be driving the car.  The purpose of the law is to give police the ability to identify those young drivers who are driving when they should not be driving.

Statistics show that young drivers have a much greater chance of having an accident from 11:00 PM to 5 AM.  These laws are meant to protect our teen drivers.

There are also some other provisions of the law.  A 17 year old driver who has a probationary license may only have one passenger in their car unless a parent or guardian is also in that vehicle. 

The statistics confirm this is a good idea.  A Johns Hopkins University study stated that the chances of a 16 year old dying in a car while a teen driver increased 39 percent with a single passenger, 86 percent with two passengers and 182 percent with three or more passengers.  In the December accidents we had locally  that claimed lives of the six teen passengers, two of the cars had six passengers and the other had three passengers.

It is time for us, especially parents to support these laws and stop complaining about them.  These laws are needed because we do not use our common sense when we drive. How do we expect our children to do any better.

How many times have you seen a parent talking on their cell phone while teen drivers are in the car?  How many parents don’t wear seat belts?  Distractions are the #1 cause of accidents with teen drivers.  It could be simply setting the radio or it could be turning to talk to a back seat passenger.  Whatever it is we need to teach our teens safe driving behaviors and do a better job of being a good example. 

Do your best to instill good driving behaviors in your teens and encourage our state reps here in Pennsylvania to follow the lead of New Jersey and pass better safe teen driver laws.

Free Online Home Study Driving Course Offered to Parents to Teach Their Teens to Drive Safely

Picking up the keysTragically car accidents continue to be the primary cause of teenager deaths.  In our area we had three accidents that caused the death of 6 teen drivers in two months. 

I have teamed up with  the Society of Family Insurance Specialists (SFIS) in striving to reduce that statistic by  providing parents a free online 16 step ‘Teach My Teen to Drive’ home study driving course.  This is a tool, available on our Parents of Teen Driver Website  that will allow parents to structure their time with their teen driving to gain as much knowledge and experience as possible in a variety of situations.  The SFIS is a national organization of insurance agents committed to reducing the number of teen driver related accidents and fatalities by providing tools to promote teen driver safety.

Although Pennsylvania only requires 50 hours, driving school experts recommend 100 hours of behind-the-wheel experience before a teen drives unsupervised. By following the step by step online ‘Teach My Teen to Drive’ course with practice exercises for each lesson, parents can not only teach their teens driving skills, but give them the much needed experience. Ret. Police Officer James Poer, who has investigated numerous teen driver accidents during his 30 years as an accident investigator says, “Teens are most likely to cause accidents because they just don’t have the practical experience that mature drivers have to avoid dangerous situations. This course gives parents tools that can help their teens gain this experience and learn the most important skills to safe driving”.

“We at Spencer Insurance are  proud to offer an easy and no-cost way for parents to give this education to their kids.”  “We know that driving schools are important but, they just can’t give new drivers adequate experience. By following our step by step program, parents can take control of and responsibility for their teens’ driver education.”

Members of the SFIS offer many tools including GPS teen driver monitoring systems, Parent/ Teen Driver Contract, 101 Safety Tips for Teen Drivers and much more.

The “Teach My Teen to Drive” online course is available through Charlie’s agency website at www.teendriverinsurance.com/spencer.  Or parents can contact them directly at 215-885-2200.

Let us help you by getting the most of the 50 hours or more you spend with your teen driver when they are learning how to drive.

You should be outraged!

In December there were three fatal accidents in our area taking the lives of six teen passengers.

 In 41 states there are Teen Driver Laws that limit the number of passengers that can be in a teen driver’s car.  Sadly, Pennsylvania is one of nine states without a law limiting the number of passengers in a car operated by a teen driver.  What additional motivation does the PA Legislature need to pass safer Teen Driver Laws?

It is time to call our State Representatives and Senators and tell them to pass safer Teen Driver Laws.

There are several laws pending to make Teen Driving safer.  Banning texting and limiting the number of passengers in a car driven by a Teen Driver are no brainers yet they continually get defeated when they come up for a vote.

As a parent my heart goes out to the parents of these teens.  A Johns Hopkins University study stated that the chances of a 16 year old dying in a car while a teen driver increased 39 percent with a single passenger, 86 percent with two passengers and 182 percent with three or more passengers.  In the December accidents that claimed lives of the six teen passengers two of the cars had six passengers and the other had three passengers.

Car accidents are the number one cause of death of teenagers.

As parents we are responsible for our children’s safety.  Even if the Pennsylvania legislature will not help us out we should enforce our own laws with our children. 

Number 1: No one is allowed in our vehicles unless they wear a seat belt (even back seat passengers)

Number 2: Outside of your household members, there should be no more than one other passenger in the car driven by your teen driver.

Number 3: No texting or using a cell phone while driving unless you are calling 911!  Parents, be aware that children learn by your example.  Practice what you preach.  Pull over to talk on the phone. At the very least use a hand held device.

Lastly, have your teen driver sign a contract that lists the consequences to any actions breaking your laws.

Visit our website at www.teendriverinsurance.com/spencer for a copy of a parent/teen contract and more tips on how to help your teen driver become a safer driver.  His or her life may depend on you!

AND, call your state rep and senator today and tell them to pass laws designed to help keep your teen driver safe.

Driving is a “Privilege” not a “Right”

teen driver Fall is “Back to School” time.  This means more traffic on the roads especially in the morning as parents take their children to school.  It is also a time when more teen drivers are on the road and we need to be more alert.

 This is a great time to remind your teen drivers that driving is a “Privilege” not a “Right.”  Every state gives us the privilege to drive, and can take it away if we abuse this privilege.  As parents of a young driver, you also have the ability to take away this privilege.

 Just as every city and state has driving laws that your young driver needs to follow, you too should lay down some household laws that your young driver needs to follow or risk loosing their license.

 Simply discussing rules and the consequences of breaking a rule is one thing.  Putting it in writing gives you much more power.  You can download a “Teenager/Parent Driving Contract” and “Careless Driving Consequences” directly from our Teen Driver website at www.teendriverinsurance.com/spencer.  Just click the Resources tab at the top when you get to this website.

 Get the new school year off on the right foot by setting up guidelines with your teen drivers.

 We have a monthly email newsletter that is designed to help parents teach their children to be safe drivers.  To receive our newsletter email me at cspencer@spencerinsurance.com and ask me to send you our email newsletter called “Driver Seat”.

Teach your teen to drive in ice and snow!

car burried in snowThe Fall Colors have been beautiful the last few weeks.  Then all of the sudden I have a carpet of leaves on my front lawn, sidewalk and porch. The leaves always seem to fall the week after our township scheduled our leaf pick up, but they will be back again in a couple weeks and our township does a great job picking up the leaves.

 

Driving down the street last weekend with the wet leaves covering the road reminded me that the leaves soon will be replaced with ice and snow.  This is the time to start thinking of ways to take the opportunity to teach your teen drivers how to drive safely in bad road conditions.

 

Parents should not avoid taking their children out during bad weather to teach them how to handle these conditions.  It is probably one of the most difficult lessons to administer.  The reason is that parents feel very uncomfortable putting their children behind the wheel in these conditions.  This is only natural as your instinct wants to protect your children.

 

However, eventually they will be driving in these conditions whether it is heavy rain, wet leaves, snow or ice.  It is better to prepare them for these conditions with a few lessons.

 

The tough part of this training is that it has to be done on a moments notice.  Depending on when your teen receives their permit you may not see snow or ice for a year or more.  So as soon as the opportunity presents itself jump on it.  It will be a valuable lesson for your teen.

 

When starting this lesson go back and remember the first lesson you gave your teen.  It was probably in some remote area like a empty parking lot.  That is a great place to start this training.  Even though your teen may have been driving for a while they have not experience the effects of ice and snow on the car.

 

Take them out into that empty parking lot where you have some room to maneuver.  Have them brake on the snow and ice.  Show them it takes more time to stop when sliding on ice and snow.  Explain to them the importance of putting more distance between their car and the car in front of them when it rains, snows or is icy on the roads. Keep practicing braking, turning and steering through the snow and ice.  Discuss what black ice is.

 

Take time to go over safety checks with your teen.  Show them how to properly clear their car of snow and ice.  Make sure they remove all the snow from their car and not just the snow on the windshield.  Remember last winter Pennsylvania passed a law making it clear that you need to remove the snow from your entire vehicle. “Snow or ice can cause injury or death to another person,” state officials said.  If you do not follow the law by removing snow from the tops of your car the fines could range from $200 to $1,000.  How many times have you been behind a car or truck and snow blew off the top of their truck or car and landed right on your windshield blinding you temporarily

 

Show your teen how to get leaves and snow out of the area surrounding your windshield wipers.  Have them make sure the wipers are free of snow and ice and that the windshield washer fluid tubes are not blocked by ice and snow.  Make sure the windshield washer fluid is full and that you have a backup container in the trunk of the car.  .

 

Another tip is to put together a winter safety kit for each of your cars.  Use a small plastic container and fill it with the following items: blanket, spare gloves and hat, small shovel, emergency flasher and flashlight, sand or cat liter, and windshield washer fluid.  Make sure you car also has an ice scraper and a brush to remove snow from the top of your car.

 

Remember your teen’s inexperience and poor decisions are only compounded when they drive in bad weather conditions.  Take the time to practice how to drive in these conditions.  It is valuable time spent making your teen a safer driver.

 

For more tips on teen driving safety visit: www.teendriverinsurance.com/spencer.

 

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