Common Mistakes Teen Drivers Make

Female driver with license

Learn to recognize them and help your teenager.

When your teen takes the wheel, their inexperience can be a problem – for themselves, their passengers and others on the road. Fortunately, most of their beginner’s mistakes can be prevented. Here are some of the most frequent errors teen drivers make, and how you can instill good behaviors in your child.

Driving too closely to other cars

New drivers have not yet learned to recognize and respond to dangerous situations, so they tend to speed and tailgate.1

Tip: Teach your teen the three-second rule. This means that when a car passes at any given point, you should be able to count to at least three before you cross the same point.Although this can be a helpful measure, this is just the minimum safe distance between cars. More space is always better when possible.

Tunnel vision

New drivers often are so focused on just one aspect of the road, such as staying in the correct lane, that they miss the others, such as cars merging in front of them, increasing their risk of an accident. All 50 states require some elements of graduated licensing, a tiered system that grants a new driver a learner’s permit, before proceeding to a provisional license and finally to a full license. This process lets a teen driver build up knowledge of the road and how to react to the unexpected.

Tip: Make sure you and your child review your state’s restrictions – and allowances – as they reach each step of the graduated licensing process. Each step of the graduated license process has various driving limitations, such as curfews, driving with another licensed adult, banning other teen passengers and more depending on your state. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety page on teenage drivers(opens in new window) provides details on the guidelines for each state.

Distracted driving

Distracted driving isn’t limited to texting. There are numerous ways one can get distracted while behind the wheel. Something as simple as a conversation with someone else in the vehicle, looking at passing landmarks, or adjusting the AC or radio are all things that can take your eyes off the road. A less experienced teen driver may more easily fall victim to these distractions.

Tip: Suggest that your teen keep their mobile device turned off, in the glove compartment or locked in a dashboard holder out of reach. Hands-free communication can also take attention from the road and perhaps shouldn’t be allowed until your child has more experience.

Not wearing seat belts

Although seat belt usage across the country is on the rise – up to 90.4% in 2021 – teenage drivers are the least likely demographic to buckle up. Fourty-three percent of teens said they didn’t always wear seat belts when riding with someone else.

Tip: Explain the importance of a seat belt in a collision. In 2020, over half of all teen driver fatalities from motor vehicle crashes involved people who didn’t buckle up. Too many passengers

Friends in the car are a huge distraction for your teen driver, and can change the way they drive. A teen with just one passenger is two-and-a-half times more likely to engage in potentially risky behaviors than a teen driving alone.6 This likelihood triples with more than one passenger.

Tip: While the number of allowed passengers may change throughout the graduated licensing process, as a parent or guardian, you can set your own boundaries and expectations in addition to these rules.

Driving under the influence

While teenagers shouldn’t be drinking alcohol on or off the road, drinking any amount of alcohol before driving increases the crash risk among teen drivers.

Tip: Maintaining and enforcing minimum legal drinking age laws and zero tolerance laws for drivers under age 21 is recommended to help prevent drinking and driving among young drivers.

Amica partners with Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) to help the ongoing effort to protect youth and make a safer future for tomorrow’s drivers. MADD’s Power of You(th)© program features interactive presentations delivered by certified facilitators to help youth explore the real, short- and long-term impacts of drinking underage, including how it can damage brain development, and the long-lasting social consequences. Click here to learn more.

As a parent, you might be a little worried about your teenager getting behind the wheel. However, there are a few things within your control to make it a smooth transition.

Educate your teen.

While not every state requires driver’s education classes, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t require them for your own children. Drivers who have not taken a driver’s education course are 75% more likely to get a traffic ticket and 16% more likely to have an accident. If a driver’s education course isn’t in the cards, there are many online resources to help educate your teenage driver, such as the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety(opens in new window)Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Teen Driver and Passenger Safety(opens in new window)MADD(opens in new window) and more.

Be a good role model.

Like most things in life, your kids are likely to pick up habits from their parents. If they see you looking at your phone while driving, they may be more inclined to do the same. If you avoid common driving mistakes and steer clear of distractions, drive the speed limit and don’t drive under the influence, they’ll be more likely to follow suit when it’s their turn to take the driver’s seat.

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What Should I Do Now?

Here are the steps you should take after a car accident:

  1. Ensure Safety: First and foremost, make sure you and anyone else involved are out of immediate danger. Move to a safe location if possible, away from traffic.
  2. Check for Injuries: Assess yourself and others involved in the accident for injuries. If anyone is seriously injured, call emergency services immediately.
  3. Contact the Authorities: Regardless of the severity of the accident, it’s generally a good idea to report the incident to the police. They can create an official accident report, which may be required for insurance purposes.
  4. Exchange Information: Exchange contact, insurance, and vehicle information with the other driver(s) involved in the crash. This includes names, phone numbers, license plate numbers, insurance policy details, and driver’s license information.
  5. Document the Scene: Take photos or videos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, and any other relevant details. This evidence can be valuable when filing an insurance claim.
  6. Gather Witness Information: If there were any witnesses to the accident, collect their contact information. Their statements may be helpful during the claims process or any legal proceedings.
  7. Notify Your Insurance Company: Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the accident. Provide them with accurate and detailed information about the incident.
  8. Seek Medical Attention: Even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured, it’s advisable to seek medical attention to rule out any hidden injuries. Some injuries may not manifest symptoms immediately.
  9. Preserve Evidence: Keep all relevant documents, such as medical reports, repair estimates, and correspondence with insurance companies. These records can support your case and help with the claims process.
  10. Consult an Attorney: If the accident resulted in significant damage, injuries, or disputes, it may be wise to consult with a personal injury attorney. They can provide guidance on legal matters and protect your rights.

Remember, these are general guidelines, and the specific actions you need to take after a car crash may vary depending on your location and the circumstances of the accident.


21 Things Every Homeowner Needs to Know

While rewarding, being a homeowner can be costly and frustrating if you’re not in the know. Here are 21 essential tips and tricks to save money, solve problems and improve your home.

A Leaking Water Heater is a Time Bomb

Water heaters sometimes leak from the drain valve or relief valve. Those valves are easy to replace. But if a leak is coming from the tank, you’ve got serious trouble. The tank is lined with a thin coat of glass. Eventually, that glass begins to crack, the steel begins to rust away and a puddle appears. Left alone, the tank will rupture, causing an instant flood. It may take months for a leak to become a flood, or it may take days. But it will happen so don’t gamble. Replace that leaking time bomb now. Read more

The Advantages of Homeownership

Owning a home offers several advantages that make it a desirable option for many individuals and families. Here are the top five advantages of homeownership:

  1. Building Equity: One of the primary advantages of homeownership is the opportunity to build equity over time. As you make mortgage payments, you gradually increase your ownership stake in the property. Unlike renting, where your monthly payments go towards the landlord’s investment, homeownership allows you to invest in your own property and accumulate wealth.
  2. Stability and Security: Owning a home provides a sense of stability and security. Unlike renting, homeownership gives you greater control over your living situation. You don’t have to worry about sudden rent increases or the possibility of being asked to move. This stability can be especially beneficial for families or individuals looking for long-term stability in a particular neighborhood or community.
  3. Potential for Appreciation: Real estate has historically shown the potential for long-term appreciation. While not guaranteed, owning a home can offer the possibility of increasing property values over time. This appreciation can lead to significant financial gains when you decide to sell your property, providing you with a potential source of wealth.
  4. Tax Benefits: Homeownership often comes with various tax advantages. Mortgage interest and property tax payments are generally tax-deductible in many countries, reducing your overall tax liability. Additionally, if you sell your primary residence and meet certain criteria, you may be eligible for capital gains tax exemptions. Consult with a tax professional to fully understand the tax benefits available in your jurisdiction.
  5. Customization and Control: When you own a home, you have the freedom to customize and personalize your living space according to your preferences and needs. You can make renovations, paint the walls, or undertake any other modifications that suit your style and lifestyle. This level of control over your living environment can enhance your overall satisfaction and comfort.

It’s important to note that homeownership also entails responsibilities such as property maintenance and potential financial risks. Before deciding to purchase a home, it’s advisable to consider your personal circumstances, financial readiness, and long-term goals.