Teen Driver Program

Your family's safety is everything - that's why we support and participate in Street Survival - a non-profit driver education program aimed at teaching teens the skills they need to stay alive behind the wheel.

Below are some important tips to consider before getting behind the wheel:

• First priority is to enroll in Street Survival www.streetsurvival.org

• Assume the worst:

  • - The oncoming car will start texting and drift into my lane
  • - One more car will run the light
  • - Blind hill - assume traffic will be stopped
  • - Assume any object on a flatbed truck or pickup will fall off
  • - A Yield sign will require a full stop

• If you see a car collision after a highway bridge/underpass in the winter, this will confirm icing has occured. Always avoid lane changes on bridges or underpasses (35-40 degrees or less).

• Even with a hands-free cell phone, the brain will make driving secondary to the conversation, resulting in significantly reduced driving focus

• Avoid texting at stop lights. It may require up to 27 seconds after electronic interaction for the brain to completely re-engage with the environment.

• Understand any vehicle that you or your friend is driving:

  • - Does the car have daytime driving lights?
  • - Does the car have anti-lock brakes and stability control?
  • - What condition are the tires in? (Especially rear tires)
  • - Does the car have side turn signals?

Driving Lessons to learn from Germany:

  • - Reflective safety vests are required for all passengers and a warning triangle
  • - Left lane is for passing only then return to the right lane and Always use turn signals
  • - Strictly adhere to construction zone speed limits
  • - For any sudden stop of highway traffic, engage your hazard lights

Make sure rear tires have full tread. Experts recommend new tires be placed on the rear wheels.
(Read this Tire Tech article from tirerack.com)
If there is one takeaway from this article, this is it:
Rear tire tread depth rules the world, regardless of front/rear/all wheel drive.

"Invincible" Jeep 4x4 with worn rear tires causes multi-car pile up on rain-covered I-70.

• Until the global Takata airbag recall is completed, front-end accidents must be avoided. No texting!

• Cars over five years old should have their headlights cleaned and polished (lens haze significantly reduces light output)

• Use the Waze app on all trips for road hazard warnings.

• Have 10% of your focus on what is behind your car.
Always monitor your mirrors.

  • - Sudden stop on Highway - focus 90% behind with an escape route to the shoulder
  • - Left hand turn - Be ready to accelerate to avoid being hit from behind

• Don’t hesitate to take front end damage if an emergency lane change is not a safe option, especially if your car lacks stability control (i.e. a deer jumps out or object in road).

• Strict curfews may result in driver anxiety and speeding (to highlight this point, one street survival instructor lost a friend in high school racing home for curfew)

• Learn the details of any accident involving your friends

• Understand the danger of "over-correction". Never remain in someone's blind spot on the highway - either pass or remain behind the other vehicle. if another car forces you on to shoulder gravel, keep foot off gas AND brake then gradually move back into the lane.

• Leasing a car is a great alternative for a teen to have the latest safety protection

• Passengers should never have their feet on the dashboard. Air bags use an explosive charge to deploy! Watch the video below from a Street Survival session.

• Don’t hesitate to miss your exit in lieu of a sudden turn
About to miss your exit? Get off at the next exit. Don’t let this happen to you (see below).


Recognizing Unsafe Acts

Being aware of your surroundings is is a major component of being a safe driver. Below are four real life examples of unsafe driving behavior.

Read the Road & Track article Overwhelmed and Undertrained on Danica Lacy and identify unsafe acts that led to the fatal accident (an excellent article on teen driving).

In summary:

          - Learn more about the importance of hands-on driver training and the Street Survival program

          - Know your vehicle

          - Recognize unsafe acts

          -  Engage the entire family in recognizing unsafe acts. Managing teen driving risk requires
            engagement by the entire family

Top Fatality Risks to Manage:

          - Overcorrection

          - Rear tire tread depth and hydroplaning on highway

          - Having an escape route when stopped on highway

Be a Smart Passenger!

          - Decide what teen drivers to avoid as a passenger (see video below which demonstrates how everything is secondary to seat belt use.)

          - Always assess who you ride with - 2/3 of teen accident fatalities are passengers.

          - Don't create chaos-the fatality in the "Overwhelmed/undertrained" article was caused by the passengers

          - Teens commonly hit the accelerator and not the brake in an intense situation. Be prepared to put the car in neutral or pull the hand brake.

          - Make sure your teen focuses on traffic behind them for any highway stop. Have an escape route!

Over 3,000 families receive a call from police or highway patrol each year that their teen has been involved in a fatal accident.  The majority of these tragic calls could be avoided by teens enrolling in Street Survival and learning how to manage risk.  

Teen Crashes BMW M3

Naive teen overestimates his driving skills and provides a physics lesson.


Insurance Tips for Teen Drivers and Parents

• Teen drivers represent a higher liability exposure. Now is a good time to review your Automobile and Excess Liability Limits. If you do not have an Excess Liability Policy, now is a good time to consider one. This is essential once your teen has an unrestricted license.

• Add teen drivers to your pre-existing Family Auto Insurance Policy. Insuring a teenage driver separately can be costly

• Choose a safe and reliable vehicle. Typically 4 door standard cars have the best rates for drivers under the age of 21. Call your insurance agent to obtain an estimate before you purchase

• It’s likely your insurance rates will be reduced if you have added safety features. This includes side air bags, anti-lock brakes and stability control. Automatic collision avoidance braking systems are valuable for a new driver.

• Traffic violations increase youthful rates by 40%

• If you’ve had a minor incident with no damage to the other vehicle - self-insure. One small claim will raise your insurance rates for 3 years

• Driver’s training and safe driving courses provide discounts on your insurance - Save your Street Survival Certificate

• Maintaining a B+ average in school will reduce your insurance rates

• Don't drive your vehicle through the wall of your local DMV office - it happens!


Learning Resources

Want a better understanding of WHY crashes happen? Here's a great resource. Watch & Learn.
Crash Analyzer on Instagram

Street Survival Driver Education

Overwhelmed & Undertrained
An article from Road & Track on teen driving

How teens can recognize unsafe acts

Insurance Tips for Teens

A Parent's Perspective on Street Survival

"Our 16-year-old daughter attended the Street Survival program in October. We can't imagine our child being out on the road without this critical training and confidence-building session. Where else could our daughter be exposed to emergency road situations in a safe, controlled environment?

The hands-on driving experience in real-world situations combined with emergency maneuvers, managing risk, and building confidence has proven to be the most valuable education and security we could provide as parents."

Tim & Mary Jane Suraud Frontenac, Missouri

A Student's Perspective on Street Survival

"I am a new 16 year old driver. After spending the day with my instructor, Duke from Marsh McLennan, going through real-life emergency situations I have become a more confident driver.

I am so glad my parents enrolled me in this program. I consider it an absolute must for new drivers."

St. Louis, Missouri