My oldest daughter just turned 16 and she has started driving, we officially have a teenage driver in the family!  It is a very exciting right of passage for her, and a nerve wracking anxious experience for me and my wife.  It has been said that the best thing for the body shop business is deer, snow, and teen drivers.  Having the opportunity to sit in the passenger seat while my daughter drives my car is a surreal experience and first, but after a while you start getting used to it.  But as I watch her learn to drive, I see how difficult it is to confidently.  There is so much about driving that become second nature – you don’t even have to think about how close to follow the car in front of you, or continually monitor you speed so you don’t got too fast or too slow.  But to a new driver all of these things require thought and concentration, and this can take their attention away from a possible collision.  There are times you want to grab the wheel, or are pushing down on your imaginary brake pedal in the passenger seat!  But over time they get better and better – and that is when they are most susceptible to an accident.  As the owner of Frederick Auto Body, I have seen my share of teen driving accidents – We have people come in the office all the time saying “Some 17 year old kid hit me”.  Unfortunately it is all part of the learning curve for teenage drivers.

As a teenage driver gets more comfortable driving, they start getting a little too over confident.  I have told my daughter that 99.5% of the time driving is easy.  It’s that .5% of the time you need to worry about – the trick is you never know when that .5% is going to happen!  So you have to be vigilant and alert at all times to avoid an accident.  So what do you do if you child does have a collision ?  As you may know, insurance for a teenage driver can be extremely expensive and that is with a clean driving record.  Add a moving violation or at fault collision and premiums can go through the roof!  Unfortunately in many cases the best thing to do is bite the bullet and pay out of pocket for the repairs.  The only exception is if the damage is so expensive that paying our of pocket is just too much money.  Last week we have a kid who rear-ended a brand new Mercedes!  He wanted to pay for it without telling his parents and not going through insurance.  Once he got our estimate for several thousand dollars he had no choice but to tell his parents and file a claim.

I love my daughter, and am happy that she has the freedom that a drivers license affords her.  And I hope I am not in a situation where she hits another car, but the odds are she will.  Luckily I own a body shop, so I can usually fix any damage.  Most parents are not in that situation.  At Frederick Auto Body, we understand how expensive auto body repairs can be ESPECIALLY when paying out of pocket.  We always do our best to work with customers to keep costs down as much as possible without sacrificing the quality of the repair.  If you have any auto damage and are paying for it yourself, make sure you come by our shop for an estimate – you will be glad you did!

Here are some Links to help parents with a new teenage driver: