Five Safety Tips for Teen Drivers
There are few milestones in life as exciting as getting your driver’s license. It’s a brand new journey you’re entering into and the first big step to gaining your independence. Now you can drive yourself to school, practice, a friend’s house, or your part-time job. It probably feels like there is no end to your freedom now that you have access to four wheels.
Morse, of course, knows all about this rite of passage. Every single person in our agency was, once upon a time, a teen driver, just like you. So, we understand that getting your driver’s license not only comes with a lot of bonuses, but also with a great deal of responsibility and rules to follow. That is why we are sharing five teen driving safety tips that will help to ensure every journey you take from here on out is a safe one.
Five Massachusetts Teen Driving Safety Tips
1. Understand what it means to be a Junior Operator in Massachusetts
We know you may not like being referred to as a “Junior Operator”, but try to overlook the term if you can. The state of Massachusetts has junior operator laws in place because your well-being is important. Additionally, you are only a junior operator for a very short amount of time – from when you first receive your driver’s license at 16 ½ until you turn 18.
If you can, try and keep the number one rule for all Massachusetts junior operators top-of-mind; you are not allowed to transport passengers under the age of 18 unless they are an immediate member of your family. The only exception to this rule is if you are accompanied by an adult who is 21 years of age or older and has at least one year’s driving experience under his or her belt.
The second rule for junior operators involves cell phone use while operating a vehicle. In Massachusetts, it’s against the law to text and drive. At Morse, of course, we think this is a pretty smart law since the number one cause of driving deaths in the United States is due to distracted driving. However, did you know that for junior operators, it’s illegal to use a cell phone (handheld or hands-free) while driving? That means you cannot make or take a call when behind the wheel. And if you’re caught, there are some pretty stiff fines for violating the rules:
- First offense: $500 reinstatement fee
- Second offense: $500 reinstatement fee – reapply for Learner’s permit
- Third or subsequent offense: $500 reinstatement fee – reapply for Learner’s permit
2. NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE
Yes, we are using all caps and preaching this to you, like so many other adults probably have already. But that’s because motor vehicle crashes are the top cause of death for teens, and Drive-Safely.net reports that 60% of these deaths involve alcohol. It may sound cliché, but you really are better off just saying “No.”
Also, please do yourself, and everyone who cares about you a favor – call your parents or an Uber if you are uncomfortable getting into a car with someone who you think may have been drinking or using drugs.
3. Observe the rules of the road
As you gain confidence behind the wheel, you may find yourself taking more risks, including running yellow lights, occasionally scrolling through your Instagram or Snapchat feed, and speeding. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2017, over 3,200 teen drivers were involved in fatal crashes, 78% of those incidents ended in death, and 9% of the young drivers killed were driving distracted. We all know the frustrations of driving restrictions, daily life, and busy schedules, but the rules of the road, including speed limits, no cell phone laws, and seat belt usage, are put in place to protect not only you but everyone else around you.
4. Always wear a seatbelt
Wearing your seatbelt is the law in Massachusetts, and if you are caught without it, you could pay fine. But the fear of paying a ticket out of pocket shouldn’t be the only reason to wear one. The biggest reason to wear your seatbelt is, of course, to save your life. According to NHTSA, seatbelts are the number one most effective means of reducing the risk of death in a motor vehicle accident. Sadly, teens are the worst offenders when it comes to actually wearing them. But trust us, and our years of experience, it’s far more fashionable to stay alive in an accident than it is to not wear a seatbelt. So, do us yet another favor; be smart, dare to stand out, and buckle up for safety.
5. Beware of drowsy driving
What is drowsy driving, you ask? It’s exactly what it sounds like: getting behind the wheel of a car when you are overtired or exhausted. Your parents, teachers, and coaches may be quick to tell you how important it is to wear your seatbelt, not to speed, and never drink and drive. However, what most people don’t realize is that driving while sleepy is almost as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, and in 2017, was the reason for over 90,000 crashes and 795 deaths. Trying to balance your class load, homework, extracurricular activities, social life, and everything else that goes into being a teen, has made kids your age busier and more worn-out than ever. And the crash statistics further prove this. Additionally, studies show that teens that sleep less than eight hours per night are more likely to be involved in a car accident due to drowsy driving.
Morse Can Help You Find The Coverage You Need
We hope our teen driving safety tips help prevent a car accident from happening to you. However, practicing safe driving does not guarantee you will not be involved in a crash. That is why, before you get behind the wheel, it is essential that you have the proper car insurance in place to protect you from an inconvenient fender bender or worse, a multi-car pile-up. Morse, of course, will assist you with all of your auto insurance needs from adding you to your parents’ current policy to helping you purchase coverage of your own.
Car insurance for teen drivers can be a little complicated to understand, and we hate to say it, a bit pricey when compared to what your mom and dad may be paying. The good news is that Morse’s knowledgeable team understands all the ins-and-outs of insuring teen drivers and is prepared to help you find all the available discounts you may qualify for.
For a comprehensive and competitive quote or answers to any additional questions you may have about car insurance and junior operator laws, contact the experienced Morse insurance professionals today at 508-238-0056 or visit us at one of our four convenient Massachusetts locations.