Becoming a licensed driver is an exciting rite of passage. It’s important to remember, however, that with the anticipation of getting behind the wheel comes the responsibility of safely operating a vehicle and protecting yourself against possible driving risks. Whether you are the parent of a fledgling young driver or a new driver yourself, keep in mind these key reminders about minimizing your risk on the road:
- There are more than 450,000 vehicle collisions in Canada every year. Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of death for young people between the ages of 15 and 19, accounting for one-third of all deaths in this age group. Ensuring your safety and the safety of others on the road should be the top priority of every driver. There are several ways that you can reduce accident risks:
• Take a respected driver education course
• Avoid impaired driving
• Avoid distractions when driving, including the use of cell phones
• Wear your seat belt
• Maintain your vehicle so that it operates safely
• Obey speed limits
• Be aware of your surroundings and potential hazards when driving
2. Safely increasing driver experience plays a critical role in developing young drivers. Conversely, inexperience is a major risk factor. Most teen crashes are caused by inexperience and happen in the first year of driving. Ontario’s Graduated Licensing System (GLS) has been developed to effectively increase the experience of young drivers. Adhering to the rules and restrictions of the GLS are an important component of developing the skills of a young driver. To that end, there are actions that parents can take to support a young person’s progression through the GLS:
• Get to know Ontario’s GLS restrictions and traffic laws.
• Talk about the GLS restrictions and traffic laws with your teen.
• Review the GLS and decide if your teen needs more restrictions then what is written in the law requirements. Go ahead and add your own rules based on the driving needs of your teen.
It is important that young drivers understand the role of insurance in protecting them against potential risks. New drivers in Ontario are required to purchase third party liability coverage with a $200,000 minimum, accident benefits coverage, direct compensation property damage, and uninsured automobile coverage. The cost of insurance for young drivers takes into several factors including age, driving record, model and year of a vehicle, status as a primary or secondary driver, where you live, and the drivers’ experience. Young drivers should know that there are ways to reduce the cost of auto insurance:
• Drive safely
• Take a driver education course
• Follow restrictions or requirements of your driver’s licence
• Increase your deductible, so it lowers the premium
• Avoid getting traffic tickets