Driving Tips for College-Bound Students

By Insurance.com Posted : 08/18/2008

Laptop, book money, bean bag chair, TV with DVD player, iPod, cell phone, shower tote and debit card—sounds like your college-bound teen is all set to start school! But are they ready to handle the responsibilities of driving on campus? Sure your teen driver knows how to navigate around your home town, but going to college means driving in an unfamiliar territory—one with more pedestrians, new distractions and new destinations.

To help make the driving adjustment easier for your teen, we've listed some helpful tips for you and your child to consider as they go off to school.

Car Check
Check your child's car from front to back before they leave for school. For instance, make sure the headlights are in working order, the turn signals work, the oil level is good and the tires are inflated properly. These little steps will help ensure a safe trip for your new college student.

Pack a Car Accident Kit
As you pack everything up for school, make sure to include a car accident kit. The kit should include a first aid kit, blanket, flares, flashlight, batteries, jumper cables, pen, paper, emergency contact numbers and proof of insurance.

Locate the Essentials
Once everything is unpacked, go on a little road trip around the college. During your journey, make it a point to find out where the local grocery store, gas station, eateries and all-purpose stores, such as Wal-Mart and Target, are located. This will not only be helpful when you come to visit, but it will also make your child feel more comfortable about navigating around their new home.

Parking on Campus
While on campus, it is wise to check out your son or daughter's designated parking lot. This will not only help you evaluate the surrounding area, but it will also give you the opportunity to refresh your child on some smart parking tips, such as: always park under a light, avoid overgrown areas, park close to the street or bus stop and be aware of your surroundings.

Campus Driving Conditions
Driving in a new environment can often catch even the best drivers off guard. That's why it's important for college students to drive cautiously and remain alert.

Pedestrians
An increase in the number of pedestrians walking around campus and town is always an issue at any university. It's important to remind your teen driver of these important pedestrian tips:

  • Stop for pedestrians crossing at all corners or crosswalks
  • Don't pass a car that has stopped at a crosswalk
  • Always yield to pedestrians

Car Theft
Make sure to remind your teen driver to always lock their car doors and never leave valuable items inside their car, such as CDs, iPod or laptops.

Don't Drink and Drive
Don't let your child become a statistic. Talk to them about the risks of drinking and driving.

Making the Grade
Many car insurance companies offer a "Good Student" discount to college students who maintain a "B" average or better. Not only does this provide parents with a 10 to 25 percent discount on their auto insurance, but it also gives college students an extra incentive to keep their grades up while away from home.

Roadside Assistance
While your teen driver is away at school you may want to consider purchasing a roadside assistance membership.

Insuring your College Student
If your teen driver is planning on taking your car to college, make sure to notify your car insurance company that your car will be housed at a different location. Depending on where your child is going to school, your auto insurance rate may go up or down.

If your college student is just riding a bike, some car insurance companies offer a "Distant Student" discount. To find the best rate to fit your budget, get free car insurance quotes using our easy application. There, you'll be able to compare multiple auto insurance rates from top companies, helping you save time and money on your car insurance coverage.

Looking for different information? Have questions or feedback? Please let us know.

Originally posted September 18, 2006.

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