Talking to Your Teen About Safe Driving

When teens begin to drive, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the National Safety Council, the sobering statistics start to pile up:

•    Car crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens ages 14 through 18. 

•    A teen’s crash risk is three times that of more experienced drivers.

•    Being in a car with three or more teen passengers quadruples a teen driver’s crash risk.

•    More than half of teens killed in crashes were not wearing a seat belt.

You can help your young driver make better decisions behind the wheel, however. Start by setting a good example yourself. Also, set time aside to have a serious discussion about the following issues, all of which have a tremendous impact on the safety of teen drivers:

Speed: According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, speeding continues to grow as a factor in fatal crashes involving teen drivers. Thirty-three percent of such accidents in 2011 involved excessive speed. While many emphases are rightfully placed on the risks of driving under the influence or while distracted, the danger of speeding is just as significant.

Alcohol: If drivers are under 21, driving with any amount of alcohol in their system is illegal. It’s as simple as that. And not only does the risk of an acute crash increase once alcohol is involved, but jail time is also a possibility as well.

Seat belts: Teens don’t use their seat belts as frequently as adults, so it’s essential to set a good example and always have yours on. Seat belts are the simplest way to protect themselves in a crash, so let teens know that buckling up is mandatory.

Phones: Distracted driving is dangerous driving, especially for an inexperienced teen. That means no calls or texting when behind the wheel — no exceptions. Again, it pays to set a good example when you’re driving with your teen in the car.

Passengers: The risk of a fatal crash goes up as the number of passengers in a teen driver’s car increases, according to the NHTSA. Depending on your state’s licensing laws for young drivers, limiting your teen to one passenger is a good guideline. (And some states don’t allow teens to have any passengers for a time.)

Of course, any driver needs to have a good grasp on the laws and rules of the road, and, because teens don’t have much experience, it’s essential to have regular conversations about safe driving. How teens drive doesn’t just depend on them. It depends on you, too!

The Wurzel Insurance Agency is here for you! Give us a call at (407) 977-5700 to speak with one of our experienced agents, or email us:

You’ve been in an accident, now what?

Auto accidents can be very scary events, and in the aftermath, you can feel confused and unsure of what to do next. After you have received the medical attention that you need, it’s time to call your insurance agent. The team at The Wurzel Agency understands how traumatic accidents can be, especially when you are also dealing with medical issues. Our team is here to help you throughout the entire claims process and get you back to your regular routine here in the Oviedo, FL area.

What to do after you’ve been in an accident

Once you have been in an accident the first thing to do is contact the police to file a report. Even if you don’t feel injured, it’s always a good idea to have a check-up to make sure that you don’t have any injuries that maybe haven’t become noticeable yet. Once you have the medical attention that you need, it’s time to file your insurance claim. If you work with an online insurance company, you will be on your own.

However, if you have a local insurance agent working with you, the process can be a lot less stressful. Filing an insurance claim is not impossible, but when you are also dealing with possible medical issues and car repairs it can be the last thing that you want to do! We recommend that you contact your agent right away to get the process started and get your life back to normal as soon as possible.

Contact the team at The Wurzel Agency is you want the specialized attention that will help make the claims process less stressful. We are here to provide the greater Oviedo, FL community with attentive service no matter the situation. Call or stop by today!

After-School Safety

After-School Safety Tips for Parents and Kids

Parents, class is back in session here in the Sunshine State, so you’ve likely already reviewed the basic safety tips for kids who walk or bus to and from school.

Those tips, of course, are:

  • Walk with a buddy
  • Stay in well-lit areas
  • Never accept a ride with strangers
  • Once home, lock the door and don’t let anyone in

However, Dr. Michele Borba, author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions, urges you not to overestimate your kids’ safety smarts. Kids under 10, for example, may not grasp the concept of crossing a street safely, she says.

She suggests teaching them: “Stop. Left. Right. Left.” Meaning that children should, “stop at the curb, look left, right, then left again before crossing, and keep looking as they cross.”

Another thing kids need to know, says Borba, is how to ask for help. Have kids practice saying, “I need help,” out loud and instruct them to “find a uniformed employee, a police officer or a woman, preferably with a child,” when they need assistance, she says.

Once home, kids will likely use the Internet, so be sure to discuss digital safety too.

Staying Safe Online

Internet safety advocate Sue Scheff, author of Wit’s End and Google Bomb, says that, “we need to put parental controls/security measures on computers and cell phones. Unfortunately, these aren’t guarantees, so having a cyber-smart child is your best defense.” 

Teach kids about the dangers of sharing personal information, such as their home address and phone number, online. And about using social media responsibly.

While online, it’s best for kids – and adults – to converse and connect only with people they truly know and trust, to keep their social accounts private and to still be cautious even then. After all, photos and information that go online today will still be there years later, when kids apply for college scholarships and jobs.

Above all, stay involved in your kids’ digital lives. Let them know you’re there for them, always – to talk, not to judge or punish, says Scheff. “Many kids fear having their Internet removed if they tell their parents they are being bullied online,” she says.

So keep the lines of communication open to help keep everyone safe, both in and outside of your home.