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    Resources for Borrowers: Tips for Parents with Young Drivers

    The first days of the fall semester are just around the corner. For many parents, this means their kids are going off to college or returning to high school driving their first vehicles. It can be a scary time for everyone involved, but arming your borrowers who have young drivers with information and resources to help navigate their kids’ early driving experience might just keep them from slamming feet on the imaginary passenger-side breaks.

    Here come some of those resources, now!

    Safety Tips for Parents of Teen and College-Aged Drivers

    Parents play a big part in helping young drivers stay safe behind the wheel by providing guidance, instruction, and setting safe boundaries. Here are some tips for parents from the CDC:

    • Ride in the car with your teen driving for at least 30–50 hours. Young drivers don’t have the experience that comes with years of practice; therefore, the more they practice, the better.
    • Watch attentively and provide feedback about how your child can improve their skills.
    • Practice driving at different times of day, in different kinds of weather, and in varying traffic conditions.
    • Having more passengers in the car can lead to inattentive, unsafe driving. Limit your young driver to one passenger for at least the first six months he or she has a license.
    • Discuss your rules of the road with your kids. Consider writing aParent-Teen Driving Agreement to set clear expectations and limits. Remember to update the agreement as your young driver’s experience increases.
    • Wearing a seatbelt is the simplest way to prevent car crash injuries and deaths. Make sure your child knows it’s mandatory.

    Tips for Maintaining Peace of Mind with Young Drivers

    To start off, take a deep breath! It’s completely normal to feel stressed out and anxious when your kid starts driving. Just remember learning to drive is a natural stage of gaining independence and—while you may want to—you can’t control every unknown factor.

    What you can do is set realistic boundaries with your young drivers and take steps to ensure their vehicle stays in top condition for safe driving.

    Setting Realistic Boundaries

    Did you know that 40% of motor vehicle crash deaths among young drivers occurred at night and 52% happened on a weekend? Setting realistic boundaries with your teen or college-bound driver might involve restricting the times they’re allowed to drive until they’ve gained more experience behind the wheel. Consider rewarding safe driving behavior by gradually lifting these restrictions.

    Maintaining a Safe Vehicle

    Many young drivers are just now getting their first cars. If their first-car experience was anything like mine, they’re not driving off the lot in a brand-new Tesla. More likely, they are inheriting a car from their parents or buying a reasonably-priced used car.

    The thing about first cars is, they’re more susceptible to breaking down than the brand new Tesla. Here are some tips for maintaining high-mileage vehicles:

    • Check and change engine oil regularly
    • Maintain optimal tire pressure and alignment
    • Monitor brake fluid levels
    • Check brake pads regularly

    Conclusion

    Offering vehicle protection products like GAP and MMP to parents who are purchasing a first vehicle for their children can help them avoid being saddled with the cost of unexpected expenses if the vehicle breaks down or is a total loss due to an accident, helping to protect their financial stability and giving them peace of mind.

    Since many young drivers are driving older vehicles, our newly launched healthCAR program will give any account holder—regardless of the mileage on their vehicle, or where their loan is serviced—the ability to purchase an affordable, monthly (plans start at $53/month) vehicle protection option that can help them budget for and prepare for the inevitable expenses that come with vehicle ownership.

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    Jennifer Webb

    Jennifer Webb joined SWBC in 2000 and is currently the Director of Product Management for SWBC’s Financial Institution Group.

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