IIHS-HLDI & APCIA collaboration

Learning to drive is an exciting milestone for a teenager, opening up new vistas of independence and adventure. For parents, however, the experience can be more than a little nerve-racking.

Parents are right to be anxious. Teen drivers are about 3 times as likely as drivers 20 and older to die in a crash. Immaturity and inexperience make for a high-risk combination.

Use these roadmaps to help your child stay safe behind the wheel. Knowing you are making informed decisions about questions such as the vehicle your teen drives, the technology that can help them, and the rules you set can help ease your anxiety as you hand over the keys — and make a big difference to your teen’s future.

Teen guide graphic

Choosing a vehicle

When it comes to choosing the car your teen will drive, don’t settle for anything too small or too old — and, no matter what your kid promises you, keep them away from anything too fast. Electronic stability control and good safety ratings are also key.

Embracing safety tech

Many of today’s vehicles have an array of high-tech driver assistance features that were unheard of when previous generations learned to drive. It’s worth it to sort through these technologies, as many of them — including automatic emergency braking, lane departure prevention and blind spot detection — can reduce the risk of a crash. Other kinds of technologies can help you set limits and keep an eye on your teenager even when you’re not in the car with them.

Laying down the law

Familiarize yourself with your state’s graduated licensing restrictions for teen drivers. Then decide if those rules are strict enough or whether you should impose your own. At what age will you allow your child to get their permit and how much supervised practice will you require? How late at night will you let them drive? Will they be allowed to give rides to their friends? Will you require a blocking app for their cell phone? Discuss your expectations with your teen before they get their license, and put it in writing. You can adapt our teen driving contract to your family’s needs.

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Navigate to Safety is a joint project of IIHS-HLDI and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), the primary national trade association for home, auto and business insurers. APCIA promotes and protects the viability of private competition for the benefit of consumers and insurers, with a legacy dating back 150 years. APCIA members represent all sizes, structures and regions — protecting families, communities and businesses in the U.S. and across the globe.