Teens are the least experienced drivers on the road and are three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be involved in a fatal crash1. The best way for parents to keep their young drivers safe on the road is by teaching them good driving habits and leading by example.
That’s why Mercury Insurance created its Drive Safe Challenge, a comprehensive website with tools – tips, videos, quizzes and much more – that parents and teens can use to help prepare for life behind the wheel. Mercury also hosts free defensive driving programs to local teens and parents, including interactive classroom sessions and hands-on driving skills training.
Most recently, Mercury teamed up with the Anaheim Ducks and the California Highway Patrol (CHP) at Honda Center for a one-day driving school immersion course. Teens and parents from Orange County high schools and the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League participated in the event, where they learned evasive maneuvering for collision avoidance and car control on slippery surfaces from professional driving instructors. In addition to car handling techniques, students were instructed to pull out their cell phones and text while driving on the enclosed course to get an understanding of how dangerous distracted driving is.
“I definitely don’t want to be distracted while driving and I will do everything I can to prevent that,” said teen participant Andrew Barone after driving on a slalom course while being prompted to send a text.
“I think Mercury’s done an outstanding job offering this course to so many teen drivers and to the parents, for that matter, showing us skid patterns and anti-lock braking,” said Harold Jagger, who brought his 15-year-old daughter to participate in the day’s activities. “…It really gives you an eye opener to what can happen and what does happen. And teens won’t have practical experience unless they do some courses like this.”
A blind spot awareness demonstration provided by KKW Trucking was also featured at the event to show participants how to better share the road with large vehicles like tractor trailers – fatal accidents involving passenger vehicles and large trucks saw the highest increase (9%) from 2016 to 2017 for all categories tracked by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Getting a driver’s license is a major milestone for young drivers, but it is also a big responsibility, which is why we encourage parents to set a good example for their children by displaying safe driving behavior behind the wheel. After all, safe driving is about more than just knowing the mechanics of operating a vehicle,” said CHP Officer Paul Fox.
Mercury Insurance and the Tampa Bay Lightning hosted a similar event for teens and seniors on the East Coast. Florida is second in the nation for teen car crash fatalities2, while it is first in the country for mature driver deaths for ages 65 and older3 – startling statistics that Mercury hopes to help reduce through education and hands-on practice.
“I’m getting firsthand training and it’s really going to do me wonders,” said senior participant Harold Bice, who brought his granddaughter Gabrielle Bice to the event. “It’s been a long time since I took a driving course and this was a great experience for me and my granddaughter.”
Gabrielle said of her experience, “Learning about how to handle dangerous driving situations as well as simple things like where to put my hands on the steering wheel is what I needed to boost my confidence because the first time I ever drove, I almost got in an accident.”
Virtually all auto collisions are preventable and Mercury Insurance encourages all drivers to be safer ones.
“The Drive Safe Challenge initiative was created to help educate drivers of all ages on the importance of being alert while behind the wheel,” said Mercury Insurance Vice President of Advertising and Public Relations Erik Thompson. “While we can’t be with our kids all the time, parents of teens going through the Drive Safe Challenge can rest a bit easier knowing their young driver has the tools and skills to avoid potentially dangerous situations while driving.”
Mercury has created a wealth of free information and tools to help drivers prepare for life on the road. Visit drivesafe.mercuryinsurance.com for tips, videos, quizzes and more.
1 “Motor Vehicle Safety: Teen Drivers.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13, Oct. 2017. Web. 17, Jan. 2018.
2 “Traffic Safety Facts: Young Drivers.” National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, May 2019. PDF. 17 Sept. 2019.
3 “Preserving the Mobility and Safety of Older Americans: Fatal Crashes Involving Older Drivers Partly Due to Rapidly Growing Number of Older Americans.” National Transportation Research Group, 13 March 2018. Web. 17 September 2019.